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Top NYC Employment Lawyer Alert: Paid Sick Leave Act aka Earned Sick Time Act Effective April 1, 2014

above-the-bar-logo-no12Our Award-Winning New York Employment Lawyers have been asked to comment on new requirements facing most employers in New York City. This morning, New York City Mayor de Blasio signed a bill requiring all employers with atleast 5 employees to provide paid sick leave. It is critical for covered employers to get up to date on this law as soon as possible because it takes effect in less than 2 weeks on April 1, 2014. This blog post is designed to give a brief general overview – if you have any specific questions about your workplace and options, call our office at (800) 893-9645 for a confidential consultation with one of our leading NY Employment Attorneys. Meet our Lead Employment Lawyer by clicking here. This can be a complicated area because of the interplay involving Paid Sick Leave Act, Workers Compensation Law, Federal and State Disability Laws and Discrimination Laws.

Under the new law, it is important to note that Mayor de Blasio expanded on the proposed bill that was pending when Mayor Bloomberg was in office. That bill would have applied to employers with 15 or more employees; however, the bill signed by Mayor de Blasio today applies to much greater number of employees since the threshold is now only 5 employees or more. In an effort to educate the public about the new law, the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs has released a standard notice for employers to use. You can find the standard notice here. Below are some general answers to frequently asked questions.

Who is a covered employer?

Employers with atleast five employees who work more than 80 hours in a calendar year in NYC must provide paid sick time. Employers with less than five employees are required to provide unpaid sick leave. Unpaid sick leave can also take the form on a reasonable accommodation under disability laws – it is important to consult with an experienced attorney when facing any of these issues so that you have legal advice that is specific to your needs.

Household employers with one or more domestic workers who have been employed for at least one year and who work more than 80 hours in a calendar year are required to provide paid sick leave. Employers should consult an experienced lawyer to understand their obligations under this law and the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

What can covered employees use the paid sick time for?

Employees can use time off for the care and treatment of themselves or a family member. An employee’s own treatment can include the following: physical or mental illness, injury or health condition; (ii) need for medical diagnosis, care or treatment; or (iii) need for preventive care. Similarly, an employee may take time for a family’s member’s treatment as well. The definition of family member includes an employee’s child, spouse, domestic partner, parent (and child or parent of employee’s spouse of domestic partner), siblings, grandchildren and grandparents.

Anti-Retaliation Provision & Record Keeping Requirements

Under the Act, employers cannot retaliate against employees for requesting or taking sick leave. Retaliatory actions are considered broadly and are not simply limited to termination – an adverse action such as a suspension or change in pay can be considered unlawful retaliation. Covered employers must maintain documentation showing compliance with the Act for 3 years.

The Department of Consumer Affairs is responsible for investigating complaints under the Act. If you have any questions or concerns about the law, call our office to learn your company’s specific obligations and requirements.

Disclaimer: 

Thank you for visiting our Blog. This blog provides general information and thoughts about various employment law issues primarily in the New York Tri-State area and occasionally in other areas. You are welcome to read the posts. However, do not construe any content on this blog as legal advice or the creation of an attorney-client relationship. Again, we provide the content only for informational purposes. You should not make decisions based information on our blog since the application of the law depends on the facts and each situation may be different. In addition, the law in most jurisdictions is different and changes constantly and we make no representations that any information on our blog has been updated. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an experienced employment law attorney in your state or jurisdiction.