Amendment to New York City’s Administrative Code to Require Paid Sick Leave Takes Effect April 1, 2014

March 14, 2014

On April 1, 2014, the Earned Sick Time Act (the “Act”), which amended the New York City Administrative Code to require certain employers in New York City provide to eligible employees up to five (5) days of paid sick leave per calendar year, takes effect.

Under the Act, as amended, all employees in New York City who work for employers of five (5) or more employees and who work more than eighty (80) hours in a calendar year are eligible to accrue paid sick time of one (1) hour for each thirty (30) hours worked, subject to a maximum of forty (40) hours of paid sick time, or five (5) days. Employees in New York City who work for employers of less than five (5) employees are entitled to unpaid sick time at the same accrual rate. Although the Act allows employees to carry over accrued but unused sick leave from year to year, the Act does not require employers to allow employees to use more than forty (40) hours of sick leave per year. Additionally, employers are not required to pay out an employee’s accrued but unused sick leave upon cessation of employment, regardless of the reason for such cessation.

The Act does not restrict the use of sick time to an employee’s own illness. An employee may use the time for (1) the employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or health condition, or for preventive care; (2) care of a family member which is defined as the employee’s child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling (the employee’s brother or sister, including half-siblings, step-siblings and siblings related through adoption), grandchild (a child of the employee’s child) or grandparent (a parent of an employee’s parent), or the child or parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner who needs medical care, including preventive care; or (3) closure of the employee’s business by public official due to a public health emergency, or to care for a child whose school or childcare provider has been closed by a public official due to a public health emergency. Employers who already offer to their employees paid leave that meets the Act’s accrual and usage requirements are not required to change their leave policies.

The Act requires employers provide written notice to new hires setting forth their entitlement to sick time and the notice must provide information relating to accrual, use of sick time, the employer’s calendar year, and right to be free from retaliation. In addition, beginning on May 1, 2014, employers must provided existing employees with notice of their rights under the law, and conspicuously post a notice of rights poster.

Employers must also retain records for a period of three years that document the number of hours worked by each employee and the amount of sick leave accrued and taken by each.

If you have any questions concerning this, please contact Anne C. Patin (212-574-1516) or Julia C. Spivack (212-574-1373) at Seward & Kissel LLP.