New York City Passes Sick Leave Act for Private Employers

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The New York City Council passed a law that requires businesses to provide either paid or unpaid sick leave beginning on April 1, 2014 to eligible employees (New York City Earned Sick Time Act).  Employers with 20 or more employees must provide at least five (5) paid sick days starting April 1, 2014.  Starting October 1, 2015, the law expands to include employers with 15 or more employees.  All employees not entitled to paid sick time under the law are entitled to unpaid sick time beginning April 1, 2014.  Sick leave includes absence due to (1) the employee's mental or physical health; (2) caring for a sick family member; or (3) closure of the employee's place of business or the employee's child's school as a result of an order by a public official or a public health emergency.
Both part time and full-time employees of private (non-governmental) employers are covered by this Act.  Employees are entitled to begin using the sick leave four (4) months (120 days) after they start work or after the law takes effect, whichever is later. Employees earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.  The law does not cover seasonal workers and student interns.  

The Act also contains anti-retaliation provisions.  An aggrieved employee must file a petition with the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).  After the DCA issues a determination, the aggrieved employee can sue in court.

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