NY gov. approves unlimited sick leave benefits for 9/11 responders

The responders will now be eligible for unlimited paid sick leave with full salary coverage

By EMS1 Staff

ALBANY, N.Y. — New legislation made unpaid sick leave benefits available to 9/11 first responders who developed an illness as a result of working at Ground Zero.

ABC News 10 reported that Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation that makes the responders eligible to apply for unlimited sick leave, with 100 percent of their regular salary covered.

“When the towers came down, those big clouds that people breathed in, there may be people who ran from that scene, who may be diagnosed with the 9/11 disease and not even know it yet,” Clifton Park Fire Chief Art Hunsinger said.

The legislation applies to not only FDNY responders, but those from surrounding areas that came to help.

“There are people who are from Saratoga County, from Albany County, and they were deployed within hours of the towers’ collapse,” Chief Hunsinger said. “And they were exposed to all the same things that all the men and women of FDNY were.”

CBS New York reported that Robert De Niro, who pushed for the legislation, joined Governor Cuomo as the governor signed the bill.

“We will always have your back. Sacrifice is a two way street,” Governor Cuomo said. “Thank you and God bless you.”

A New York lawyer urged responders to apply quickly for the benefits, as there is a limited period of time to do so.

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