Mayor de Blasio Signs New York City Sick Leave Law - Notice of Rights Available

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the amended version of the Earned Sick Time Act ("ESTA") on Thursday, March 20, 2014. The Earned Sick Time Act takes effect on April 1, 2014. To learn more about the New York City Earned Sick Time Act, including details of these most recent amendments, please see our earlier client alerts [available here: May 9, 2013June 28, 2013, December 17, 2013, January 28, 2014, and February 27, 2014.] Employers should consult their existing policies to ensure that they are prepared to comply with the requirements of the law.

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs ("DCA"), the agency responsible for administering and enforcing the ESTA, has created a section on its website where it provides FAQs and a sample template Notice of Employee Rights. (See here: DCA Earned Sick Time Information)

Beginning April 1, 2014, all employers in New York City must issue a Notice of Rights to all newly hired covered employees by either the later of commencement of employment or May 1, 2014, and to all current covered employees by May 1, 2014, with the exception that, with respect to employees covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement in effect on April 1. 2014, compliance with ESTA does not begin until the expiration of the CBA. In addition, the notice must be provided in English and in a translated version in the employee's primary language if it is Spanish, Chinese, French-Creole, Italian, Korean or Russian, when template notices in those languages become available on the DCA web page.

Please note that the template Notice of Employee Rights issued by the DCA tracks the minimum accrual and leave requirements provided by the law. Many employers have existing leave policies with more generous provisions than those required by the Act. Such provisions may include, but are not limited to, faster accrual rates than 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, more than 5 days of sick leave per calendar year, and other more permissive provisions than the law requires. Unfortunately, the current form of the City's template notice does not provide flexibility for expressing more generous leave provisions. Employers should confirm whether the City's template notice accurately reflects their sick leave policies.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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