Expanded NYC Sick Leave Law to Cover All Employers

Written by Jamie Lang

The New York City Council recently amended the Paid Sick Time Law. Mayor DeBlasio has expressed his support and is expected to sign the bill into law. With the amendments, New York City employers with five or more employees must provide at least five days of paid sick leave to employees. Employers with less than five employees must provide five days of unpaid sick leave to employees. Before the amendments, the law only required employers with 15 or more employees to provide paid leave. The law is set to go into effect on April 1, 2014.

The amendments also expanded the definition of family member. Under the law, an employee can use sick time for an absence related to their illness or the illness of a family member. The term family member had been limited to immediate family members. But with the amendments, it now includes an employee’s child, spouse, domestic partner, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, or the parent or child of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner.

As a reminder, some of the other key provisions of the law include:

  • Sick time may also be used when an employee needs to care for a child whose school or childcare provider has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency.
  • Employers may require an employee to substantiate leave time in the form of a doctor’s note for absences of more than three consecutive work days.
  • Sick time starts to accrue on the later of April 1, 2014 or the start of employment.
  • An employee can start using his or her accrued sick time on the later of the 120th calendar day after the start of employment or April 1, 2014.
  • An employer must provide at least one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours of sick time in a calendar year.
  • If the employer already provides paid time off—in the form of personal days, vacation days, or sick leave—it is not required to provide additional paid sick time to employees as long as employees can use the paid time off for absences related to their illness or a family member’s illness as provided in the law.
  • Special rules apply to employees covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement on April 1, 2014. First, the law will not affect those employers until the termination of the collective bargaining agreement. Second, the law will not apply if the collective bargaining agreement expressly waives the law and provides paid days off that are comparable to benefits under the law.
  • Employers must provide written notice of an employee’s rights under this law at the commencement of employment in English and the primary language spoken by that employee.

If you have any questions about how the New York City Sick Time Law or the recent amendments to the law affects your business, please contact any Clifton Budd & DeMaria attorney.

About the Author
Jamie Lang
Senior Associate
Jamie Lang joined the firm in February 2013. She represents and counsels employers in all aspects of labor and employment...
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