Paid Sick Leave in New York: What Employers & Employees Need to Know
The New York City Council expanded last year’s Earned Sick Time Act on February 26th to require all businesses with five or more employees to grant employees up to five sick days annually. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initiative has generated controversy in the business community. Small businesses, fortunately, have a chance to learn more about the policy before it takes effect.
Corey Johnson, City Council Representative of District 3, encompassing the Flatiron District and Chelsea, stresses the importance educating businesses on the details of the paid sick leave requirement. The City Council has instituted a 2-month grace period, giving employers until April 1st to get up to speed. Businesses with 19 or fewer employees will not be subject to penalties for not providing paid sick days prior to October 1st, 2014. According to The Non-Profit Coordinating Committee of New York (NPCC):
“Under the Earned Sick Time Act Int 0001-2014, an employee who is employed for more than 80 hours in New York City in a calendar year is entitled to paid sick time. Sick time is to be accrued at one hour for each 30 hours worked, capped at 40 hours in a calendar year.”
Valid reasons for paid absence include:
“employee’s mental or physical illness; injury or health condition; need for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment, or need for preventive medical care; the care of a family member needing medical diagnosis, care, treatment, or preventive medical treatment (grandparents, grandchildren and siblings have been added to the definition of family members workers can legally care for using paid sick time); and, the closure of the place of business due to a public health emergency or to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed due to a public health emergency.”
Employers will be required to keep records documenting the total hours worked and the number of sick day hours taken by employees for no less than two years. Employees are entitled to a written notice of their sick time. The notice must provide: “information relating to accrual, use of sick time, and more.” Employees have two years to complain if they feel their rights to compensation have been violated. Pending future changes instituted by the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Consumer Affairs will be responsible for ensuring that businesses comply with the legislation’s statutes. It will also be responsible for investigating complaints and, if they’re deemed valid, enforcing appropriate penalties.
View the Earned Sick Time Act in its entirety here