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Flatiron Hot! News | December 13, 2017

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Flatiron Hot! Pundit: Paid Sick Leave & How One Flatiron Company is Trying to Comply

Flatiron Hot! Pundit: Paid Sick Leave & How One Flatiron Company is Trying to Comply
Eric Shapiro

Effective May 1st, 2014, all employers in New York City were required to provide their employees with notice regarding the city’s new paid sick leave law. Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the Earned Sick Time Act on March 20th and it came into effect on April 1st, following an extension allowing employers more time to prepare. We invite employers who have not yet given notice or have questions regarding the specifics of the new law to read this blog post to get a sense of how, in the real world, businesses are making a good-faith effort to educate their staff on the benefits.

New York City’s effort, via the de Blasio administration, is part of a progressive trend in many cities that are trying to enlist small businesses (even those with less than 50 employees, for the first time in NY) in a cooperative effort to offer key quality-of-life benefits to all workers.  The city’s effort and its effectiveness may well help influence the course of debate on these and other quality-of-life issues across the country.  With the recent concern about income inequality, the minimum wage, and the difficulty of getting young people to enter the work force and establish themselves, these efforts will bear close watching.

New York City Seminar and Conference Center (NYCSCC), Flatiron Hot! News’s corporate sponsor, is a typical local small business in Flatiron, which employs up to 25 people in a variety of full- and part-time roles.  Many of the staff are first-time hires right out of college, working at close to minimum wage and trying to establish themselves in the working world  in the hospitality and event planning industry.  NYCSCC owners are eager to comply with the law, and want to do their best to make it a success.  The staff stands to benefit from the new law – the trick is get both the ownership and staff on board to make sure the new provisions work smoothly for both sides.  For NYCSCC, a technology conference center, it’s important that the staff coordinate the sick leave in a way that doesn’t interrupt the successful operation of the business, which depends upon timely scheduling of staff for the various tech events that take place every day.

Here is the memo drafted by NYCSCC’s management and circulated to the staff  as required by the law’s May 1st deadline to notify staff of the law’s key provisions.  NYCSCC has generously granted us permission to post a  version of it for the benefit of the business community in the Flatiron District, and elsewhere in New York City. You can also feel free to review our previous coverage of the paid sick leave law for additional background and information.  We’ll be reporting back from time to time on how the new law is working out at NYCSCC, both good points and bad.  We’ll also do some follow-up reporting on the experience of other small businesses in the neighborhood.  Here it is:

The New York City Paid Sick Leave Law is now in effect, and pursuant to the new Law’s rules, the City has asked employers to circulate information in an effort to educate employees about its operation. Eric Shapiro and Korvin Vicente of Flatiron Hot! News have put together an explanation of the Law’s provisions.

By law, employers are required to provide employees with written notice regarding changes to New York City’s Earned Sick Time Act (Paid Sick Leave Law).

Starting April 1st, 2014, employees began accruing paid sick leave hours for an employee’s own personal care and treatment, or that of a family member. Under the new law, employees will accumulate 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year. The law dictates, however, that employees must work 120 hours (approximately 4 months) before they can begin using any paid sick leave accrued.

To clarify, this means that all current employees may begin taking advantage of accrued paid sick leave on July 30th, 2014. Any new employees will begin accruing paid sick leave on their date of hire, and will be eligible to use it after 120 hours of logged work time. Paid sick leave hours may apply to the entirety of your shift or only a portion of the hours you would otherwise work.

Employees are not responsible for finding someone to cover their shift. Paid sick leave hours that go unused in any given calendar year may carry over to the following year depending on the policy of the employer. Regardless, the 40-hour yearly limit still applies.

Employees will be paid at your regular hourly rate for any sick leave used. That said, employers may require written verification that paid sick leave days were used for sick leave purposes for the maintenance of records. The law does not require employees to disclose any information regarding specific medical reasons for sick leave. However, for any absence of four or more consecutive days, employees must submit documentation from a licensed healthcare provider.

Employees are protected against retaliation from an employer for requesting or using sick leave. Retaliation includes any threat, discipline, discharge, demotion, suspension, reduction in hours, or any other adverse employment action against an employee.

If a dispute arises an employer regarding an employees use of paid sick leave, the latter may file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). The complaint form is available at nyc.gov/PaidSickLeave, or you may call 311.

For more information, please refer to the official notice of employee rights available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dca/downloads/pdf/MandatoryNotice.pdf