Act Now Advisory: New York City Council Expands Scope of Paid Sick Time Law

by Epstein Becker & Green
Contact

On February 26, 2014, the New York City Council ("City Council") voted to expand the City's paid sick leave law, the Earned Sick Time Act ("ESTA"). In a 46-to-5 vote, the City Council passed an amendment to the ESTA requiring New York City employers with five or more employees to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick time each calendar year. The legislation now awaits the signature of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is expected to sign the bill without delay. Paid sick time was a cornerstone issue for Mayor de Blasio during last year's mayoral campaign. The ESTA's effective date remains April 1, 2014.

As we previously reported (see the Act Now Advisory titled "It's Official . . . New York City's Earned Sick Time Act Will Become Effective April 1, 2014"), the ESTA, as it was originally enacted, required employers with 20 or more employees to provide employees with paid sick time as of April 1, 2014. Eighteen months later, on October 1, 2015, the coverage of the law would have expanded to require City employers with 15 or more employees to provide paid sick time under the ESTA. This gradual provision of coverage has been expressly repealed by the amendment.

In response to implementation concerns by small businesses, which were initially not required to provide paid sick time, a six-month grace period was added for employers with between five and 19 employees. This means that if a violation of the ESTA occurs prior to October 1, 2014, employers with five to 19 employees will not be subject to civil penalties.[1]

Amendments to the ESTA

In addition to expansion of the ESTA to cover employers with five or more employees, the law was also amended to:

  • broaden the definition of "family member" for whose care an employee may use sick time under the ESTA to include grandparents, grandchildren and siblings (siblings include an employee's brother or sister, half-siblings, step-siblings, and siblings related through adoption);
  • extend the record retention requirement from two to three years (the ESTA requires employers to retain records documenting their compliance with the law);
  • grant the mayor authority to designate an agency other than the Department of Consumer Affairs to enforce the ESTA;
  • increase the statute of limitations for filing a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs, or other applicable agency, to two years (previously the time limit was 270 days) following the date that the alleged violation became known or should have become known;
  • require employers to respond to a complaint filed with the Department of Consumer Affairs, or other applicable agency, within 30 days of receiving written notification of the complaint; and
  • eliminate the manufacturing industry's exemption from coverage.

The remaining provisions of the ESTA remain in effect, including the definition of covered employees (full or part-time employees working more than 80 hours in a year, including domestic workers), as well as the ESTA's accrual, use, and carry-over provisions, among others. For more information, please see our May 16, 2013 Act Now Advisory (New York City Paid Sick Time Law Will Likely Become Effective).

The City Council did not amend the unpaid sick leave provision. The ESTA still requires employers to provide unpaid sick time to those employees who are not eligible for paid sick time. That is, employers with fewer than five employees must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid time. Further, for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, the amended ESTA will not become effective until the termination date of the agreement currently in effect.

Notably, the amendment neither changed the notice requirements provision of the ESTA nor provided any new information regarding such requirements. Under the ESTA, employers must provide employees at the commencement of employment with written notice of their right to sick time as well as information pertaining to accrual and the right to be free from retaliation. The Department of Consumer Affairs (or other agency designated by the mayor) is expected to make the notice available to employers on its website. The notice must be given to employees in English and in the primary language spoken by the employees, provided that the translation of such notice is made available by the Department of Consumer Affairs.

What Employers Should Do Now

Prior to April 1, 2014:

  • determine if the paid provisions of the amended ESTA apply to your New York City workforce;
  • review your existing sick, PTO, and other time-off policies to ensure that they comply with the requirements of the ESTA, including the new provision covering additional family members (grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings); and
  • await instructions from the Department of Consumer Affairs (or another designated City agency) relating to the ESTA's notice requirements.

ENDNOTE

[1] A first-time violation during the grace period will not serve as a predicate for purposes of imposing penalties for subsequent violations occurring on or after October 1, 2014. A second or subsequent violation occurring during the grace period (between April 1 and September 30, 2014) will serve as a predicate for purposes of imposing penalties for subsequent violations that occur after the six-month grace period.

Written by:

Epstein Becker & Green
Contact
more
less

Epstein Becker & Green on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.