New York City Expands Earned Sick Time Law – Employees Must Receive Updated Notice

New York Paid Safe and Sick Leave PosterOur blog readers may recall that last November, New York City Mayor signed Int. 1313-A, amending the Earned Sick Time Act. The amendments, which took effect May 5, 2017, allow employees to use safe and sick leave for the care and treatment of themselves or a family member and to seek assistance or take other safety measures if the employee or a family member may be the victim of any act or threat of domestic violence or unwanted sexual contact, stalking, or human trafficking.

The amended law, which was renamed Earned Safe and Sick Time Act, requires employers with five or more employees who work more than 80 hours per calendar year in New York City to provide paid safe and sick leave to employees. Employers with fewer than five employees are required to provide unpaid safe and sick leave. Employees can use “safe time” to:

  • obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other shelter or services program;
  • participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocate, or take other actions to increase the safety of the employee or employee’s family members;
  • meet with a civil attorney or other social service provider to obtain information and advice on, and prepare for or participate in any criminal or civil proceeding;
  • file a complaint or domestic incident report with law enforcement;
  • meet with a district attorney’s office;
  • enroll children in a new school; or
  • take other actions necessary to maintain, improve, or restore the physical, psychological, or economic health or safety of the employee of the employee’s family member or to protect those who associate or work with the employee.

Employees are entitled to one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked. Safe and sick time will begin to accrue following the first day of employment or on the effective date of the law, whichever is later. Employees are entitled to use accrued leave 120 days after their first day of work or 120 days after the effective date of the law, whichever is later. Employers who do not frontload safe and sick leave on the first day of a new calendar year must permit employees to carry over up to 40 hours of unused safe and sick leave from one calendar year to the new calendar year.

The law also expands the definition of covered family members to include “any other individuals related by blood to an employee” or “any other individual whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.” Under the former Act, employees were only allowed to use sick time to care for a spouse, domestic partner, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or the child or parent of the employee’s spouse or domestic partner.

All employers need to provide employees with an updated Notice of Employee of Rights. Employers are encouraged to display the notice where notices are customarily displayed; however, employers cannot post the notice instead of individually delivering the notice to employees. To order a copy of the notice, please click here.

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