New York City Earned Sick Time Act Amendments

by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation expanding the Earned Sick Time Act (“ESTA”) for New York City-based employers – just in time for its impending effective date on April 1st.

Expansion of Terms

As we advised in a previous client alert, the New York City Council enacted ESTA in June 2013, overriding former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto. Under the provisions of ESTA, employers are required to provide one (1) hour of paid sick leave for every thirty (30) hours that an employee works, up to a maximum of forty (40) hours per calendar year (or approximately five (5) days of paid sick leave for full time employees). Sick leave may be used by employees for their own physical or mental illness, injury, or medical care; to care for a family member; or in the event of declared pubic health emergencies. Under the original version of ESTA, “family member” was defined as a spouse or domestic partner, child, parent, or the child or parent of a spouse or domestic partner. Last week, this definition was expanded to include an employee’s or their spouse’s or domestic partner’s grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.

Expansion of ESTA’s Reach

The amendments to ESTA also broaden its reach. First, where the law initially only covered employers with twenty (20) or more employees (and fifteen (15) or more employees after a phasing-in period), ESTA now applies to all employers with five (5) or more employees. Employers with less than five (5) employees still must provide job-protected sick leave in accordance with the provisions of the law, but the leave may be unpaid. Second, the law has been broadened to include employers in the manufacturing sector and other small businesses, which previously were exempted.

Expansion of Administrative Requirements

As originally enacted, ESTA’s notice requirements only applied to a covered employer’s new hires. In light of the amendments, notice now also must be distributed to all current employees. Employers must provide the notice immediately to any new hires beginning employment after April 1, 2014, and must distribute the notice to current employees no later than May 1, 2014. The notice must also be conspicuously posted in workplace beginning May 1, 2014.   

While the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs generally is responsible for policing and enforcing ESTA, the Mayor now also may appoint additional agencies to perform such duties, including receiving and investigating complaints for violations of the law. The deadline for filing a complaint under the law also has been expanded from 270 days to 2 years, and employers must retain relevant employee records for 3 years.

Existing Employer Policies

If an employer’s existing paid time off policies, including sick, vacation, and personal days, already provide for comparable or more generous paid leave for employees, ESTA does not require the employer to provide additional sick time, as long as paid time off may be taken by the employee for the reasons specified in the law.

*  *  *  *  *

In addition to the items discussed above, the law includes provisions regarding addressing ESTA in collective bargaining agreements for unionized workforces, conditions for paying out employees versus carrying over accrued and unused sick leave at the end of the calendar year, requiring employees to provide advance notice for use of planned sick leave, and requesting medical documentation for absences under the law. Employers should speak with legal counsel if they have any questions regarding compliance with ESTA or if they need help amending their employment policies to conform to the requirements of the law.

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.

© Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP 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.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

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.


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 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:

- 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.