New York City’s Earned Sick Time Overview
The City of New York has had required mandatory sick leave since 2014 for employees of large employers. In addition, New York State recently passed a state-wide FMLA that pays employees who take family leave.
In 2015, the law was again amended to provide sick leave for all employees. Employers with 5-20 employees were required to start providing paid sick leave and smaller employers were required to provide unpaid sick leave.
Employees earn sick leave at the rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked. Up to 40 hours a year can be accrued and any time that isn’t used during the year can roll to the next year.
Until recently, sick leave only provided leave for the employee’s own physical or mental health condition or injury.
However, that is about to change. A new amendment to that bill was passed recently by the city council, and expected to be signed soon by the mayor. It will take effect 180 days after the mayor signs it.
The amendment makes two major changes. First, it creates safe time under the law. Second, it expands allowable family relationships for paid sick and safe time.
Safe Time Provisions Added to NYC Earned Sick Time Act
The new amendment adds several provisions under which employees can take sick leave. They can take sick leave for safety reasons for themselves or for a family member who is a victim.
One of the reasons for adding safe time was described by Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.
“Often times, women would miss appointments with either a DA or miss appointments at the police precinct, or, unfortunately in cases, had to go and serve orders of protection, they had to go themselves, and weren’t able to do that because they weren’t able to take time off work.”
The new rules allow victims of a family offence matter aka “domestic violence”, stalking, human trafficking or sexual assault to take sick leave for a variety of reasons in order to get protection, seek help and redress, and to get medical or mental aid.
Employees can take time to get protection, seek safety planning or relocate, seek help from legal and civil authorities, and even to enroll their kids in a new school.
- To obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other shelter or services program for relief from a family offense matter, sexual offense, stalking or human trafficking.
- To participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocate, take other actions to increase the safety of the employee or the employee’s family members from future issues.
- To meet with a civil attorney or other social services provider to obtain information and advice on, and to prepare for or participate in, any criminal or civil proceeding, including, but not limited to, matters related to a family offense matter, sexual offense, stalking, human trafficking, custody, visitation, matrimonial issues, orders of protection, immigration, housing, discrimination in employment, housing, or consumer credit.
- To file a complaint or domestic incident report with law enforcement
- To meet with the district attorney’s office
- To enroll children in a new school
- To take any other necessary actions to maintain, improve, or restore the physical, psychological, or economic health or safety of the employee or employee’s family member or to protect those who associate or work with the employee.
Broadens Definitions of Harassment & Assault
One of the interesting expansions that New York City’s safe time covers is in its definitions. Instead of specifying domestic violence, the ordinance identifies a family offense matter.
Family offense matters include disorderly conduct, harassment, sexual misconduct, and abuse. Stalking includes criminal misconduct, menacing, reckless endangerment, identity theft and a host of other physical assaults.
It also includes victims of human trafficking, both for labor and sexual trafficking. It also includes acts or threats between spouses or former spouses, parent and child, or members of the same family or household.
Family Member Definitions Broadened Under Sick Leave
In addition to expanding sick time to include safety reasons, the amendments also include expanded definitions for allowable family members.
A new family member relationship is any other individual related by blood to the employee, and any other individual whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of that of a family relationship. The amendment doesn’t define the term “equivalent of a family relationship.”
Employers are still allowed to require documentation when sick leave of 3 or more consecutive days are used for domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, or human trafficking.
Documentation for safe time includes any documentation signed by an employee, agent, or volunteer of a victim services organization, an attorney, member of a clergy, or a medical or other professional service provider from whom the employee or their family member has sought help.
It can also include a police report, court record, or notarized letter from the employee explaining the need for safe time use. Employers cannot require any documentation that describes the details of the family offense matter, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking.
Let SwipeClock Help
New York City Employers have had numerous amendments since the Earned Sick Time Act was first made into law.
These businesses have to comply with multiple conflicting City ordinances defining Sick leave, Scheduling laws.
Additionally, these businesses have to also comply with Federal Overtime Laws, the New York FMLA and Federal Family Medical Leave Act and any other national or local laws that are enacted. SwipeClock provides a comprehensive array of workforce management and time tracking tools that can help businesses to more easily stay in compliance with local and national laws.
Records are effortlessly kept for years and accrual is automatically tracked and reported to employees according the state and city laws. Additionally, with geo-timekeeping clocks, businesses can effortlessly track time worked in specific cities to ensure compliance.
Written by Annemaria Duran. Last updated on November 6, 2017.