New York City Passes Paid Sick Leave Act

New York City Will Require Most Employers to Provide Paid Sick Days The New York City Council reached an agreement to pass legislation that would require most New York City employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees.

Under the legislation, effective April 1, 2014, all New York City employers must provide up to five sick days to “covered employees” so that such individuals can care for themselves or a close family member. For employers with 20 or more employees, the five sick days must be paid. On October 15, 2015, the requirement to provide paid sick days to employees expands to employers with 15 or more employees. For those employees who receive most of their compensation in the form of “gratuities,” it appears that the legislation only requires the employer to pay the employee his or her base wages.

A “covered employee” under the legislation includes all employees, whether part-time or full-time, who have worked for their employer for at least four months. However, seasonal employees and work study students are excluded from the definition of “covered employee.” Employers who already meet these minimum requirements for providing time off as set forth in the legislation will not be required to offer additional time off to their employees. The legislation also prevents employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their right to take time off in a manner consistent with the legislation.

This legislation will be enforced by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. If an employer violates the law, the Department of Consumer Affairs can impose a fine of up to $2,500 as well as require employers to reimburse an employee any wages to which he or she may be entitled. However, the legislation does not create a private right of action for employees, which means that employees can not sue their employers who allegedly violate this law; their only recourse is to file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs.

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