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New York City Passes Earned Sick Time Act

On June 27, the New York City Council overrode Mayor’s veto and passed the Earned Sick Time Act by a 45-3 vote. This Act joins New York City employers within the minority of states in imposing sick leave obligations. According to New York City Council estimates, this new sick leave law will make over a million employees eligible for some type of sick leave.

The new impositions of this act is said to go into effect by April 14, 2014. For private sector employers with 20 or more employees, paid sick leave will be required. Other covered employers will be required to provide unpaid sick time. However, employees covered by collective bargaining agreements that waive paid sick leave will not be covered.

Beginning April 2014, employers covered will be required to provide covered employees with one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and they can use up to 40 hours per year—essentially, employers could get up to five paid sick days a year. Sick leave will be able to be used for employee or for an employee to take off for family member’s illness, injury, health condition including preventative care, and for when schools and businesses are closed due to public health emergencies. Family members are defined broadly to include parents, children, spouse or domestic partner. Additionally, employers will be bound to a non-retaliation provision which will make it unlawful for an employer to make any adverse employment actions towards the employee or terminate employment if an employee takes sick leave. Sick leave will carry over from year to year but cannot exceed 40 hours per year. Additionally, accrued and unused sick time will not be required to be paid out at the end of the year or upon termination of employment.

The employer will be required to provide notice to employees under this Act about an employee’s right to file an administrative complaint if provisions are breached. The employer will be given the option to require reasonable notice of the need to use sick time in foreseeable situations, or reasonable documentation of sick leave signed by a licensed health care provider. An employer with a current paid leave policy already in place that provides an employee with enough paid leave to meet the minimum accrual requirements and allows paid leave to be used for sick time will not be required to provide additional sick time.

It is said that within a year of the Act going into effect, the covered employees’ threshold may drop to employers with 15 or more employees. Regardless, the passing of this law and the fact that it surpassed the mayor’s veto is a victory for employees. Nearly every employee can identify with the struggle in deciding whether to go to work when they or their children are ill because of the financial losses taken when missing a day, or the disapproval of their managers – this is the first step towards limiting that struggle for employees and up in the right direction. For more detailed information regarding federal and state laws governing wage and hour laws visit, Attorneys with a focus in Employment and Labor Law, including Wage and Hour laws, can protect your interests and your right. If you would like to get a consultation with one of our New York employment law attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us at the Law Office of Borrelli and Associates immediately. We are eager to review your case and give you advice.

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