Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) — More New York City businesses would be required to offer employees paid sick leave under legislation backed by the City Council speaker that will be one of Mayor Bill de Blasio's first initiatives.

De Blasio, a 52-year-old Democrat, took office this month after making the issue part of his campaign pledge to combat income inequality in the most populous U.S. city. The measure may take effect as soon as April 1, de Blasio said today at a news briefing outside Esmeralda's Restaurant in Brooklyn. The mayor was joined by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and more than 20 members of the 51-member legislative body.

"We talked a lot about the tale of two cities; our goal is to create one city, where everyone can rise together, and this is one of the steps we have to take to make that possible," de Blasio said. "The time to act is now."

The expansion of an existing sick-leave law to cover 500,000 more workers would amount to a show of force by the mayor and his ally, Mark-Viverito, who have vowed to put their self-described progressive values into action. They said a majority of council members supports the plan. De Blasio won election in November by 49 percentage points, the biggest margin by a non-incumbent in city history.

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