Amended New York City Paid Sick Leave Law Goes into Effect April 1, 2014

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Labor & Employment
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The New York City Council has passed a resolution implementing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed amendments to the City’s sick leave law.  These amendments extend the law’s coverage to private sector businesses with five (5) or more employees (or one or more domestic workers).  Effective April 1, 2014, such employers will be required to provide up to 40 hours per year of paid sick time to employees, which may be used for the employee’s own illness or to care for a sick family member.  For employers with fewer than five employees, the sick leave may be unpaid.

For employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement on the date the law goes into effect, the law’s provisions do not become effective until the expiration of the agreement.

The amendments also expand the definition of “family member” to include an employee’s child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling (including half-siblings, step-siblings and siblings related through adoption), grandchild or grandparent, or the child or parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner.

Employers will be required to maintain written records documenting their compliance with the law for three years.  The statute of limitations for violations of the law will increase from 270 days to two years from the date that the employee knew or should have known of the alleged violation.  Although the law does not provide employees with a private right of action, the City may impose fines and penalties, and award equitable relief and unpaid wages, for violations.

Employers have until May 1, 2014 to provide current and new employees with written notice of their rights under the law.