As of April 1, 2014, employers with five or more employees who are hired to work more than 80 hours a calendar year in New York City must provide paid sick leave under the new Earned Sick Time Act (“the Act”). Under the Act, the employer has to provide 40 hours of paid sick leave each calendar year (an employee earns one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked). For existing employees as of April 1, 2014, they start accruing their sick time immediately and may start using that sick time as of July 30, 2014. For employees hired after April 1, 2014, they start accruing their sick time on their first day of employment and may start using that sick time 120 days later. Note, the Act also applies to employees based outside of New York City, as long as they actually work at least 80 hours a year in New York City (although such an employee is only allowed to use the sick leave when he or she is working in New York City).
Employees are allowed to use the sick time accrued under the Act for numerous reasons, including: the employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; the employee’s need for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; the employee’s need for preventive medical care; the care of a family member who needs medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of an illness, injury, or health condition, or who needs preventive medical care; the closure of the employee’s place of business due to a public health emergency; and the employee’s need to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed due to public health emergency.
If an employer provides alternative time off policies that meet or exceed the requirements of the Act (such as a PTO or and existing sick or vacation leave policy), then that policy can stand in place of the sick time provided for under the Act as long as the employee has at least 40 hours of paid leave and can use leave under that policy in the same manner and for the same reasons allowed under the Act.
Employers must distribute a Notice of Employee Rights under the Act to existing employees by May 1, 2014 or on their first day of employment if hired after that initial notice is distributed. That notice and more information regarding the Act can be found on the New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs website at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dca/html/law/PaidSickLeave.shtml.