On June 27, 2013, the New York City Council passed a law that will require certain employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. The bill was overwhelmingly passed by a 47-4 vote over the veto of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The law, known as the Earned Sick Time Act (the “Act”), requires businesses with at least 20 employees to provide their employees five paid sick days (i.e. 40 hours) per year starting in April 2014. Starting in October 2015, the Act will apply to employers with 15 or more employees. Under the Act, covered employees can take paid time off when they or their family members are sick, with pay (for up to five days) without fear of losing their jobs due to the Act’s anti-retaliation provisions. Moreover, businesses that are not required to provide paid sick leave under the Act, still need to provide unpaid sick leave. Covered employees will accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Unlike leave provided for under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), the Earned Sick Time Act does not require a “serious medical condition” and will apply to illnesses such as the flu and the common cold.
In passing the Act, New York City joins Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle, as cities requiring employers to provide paid sick leave.