The New York City agency charged with enforcing the Earned Sick Time Act, the Department of Consumer Affairs (the “DCA”), revised the rules implementing the Act. These revisions provide clarifications regarding the increments of time that can be used, the contents of sick time policies, record-keeping requirements and penalties.

Increments of Sick Leave Use

Previously, the rules provided that an employer could set fix minimum increments of use at four hours or fewer. But it left vague what an employer may do with regard to sick leave used in excess of four hours but fewer than eight hours. The revision states that employers may set fixed periods of 30 minutes or less for the use of sick leave beyond the initial increment of four hours (or less). For example, if an employee is scheduled to work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and she is not able to arrive at work until 12:15 p.m. (four hours and 15 minutes later), the employer’s policy may require her to wait until 12:30 p.m. to return to work.

Policy Contents

Employer sick time policies must contain the following information:

  • The method for calculating sick leave, including whether sick leave is frontloaded, the accrual start date, the accrual rate, and the maximum accrual amount in a year.
  • The policies concerning the use of sick leave, including notice required, verification of sick leave usage, minimum increments and/or fixed periods and discipline in the event of abuse.
  • The amount of time employees may carry over to the following year.

These policies may not be enforced unless they are distributed to employees.

Furthermore, employers should be mindful that in addition to tracking use and accrual of sick time, they also must maintain a record of the date that the Notice of Rights was provided to each employee and “proof” that it was in fact provided.

All in all, these revisions are not overly burdensome, but employers are advised to ensure that their policies contain the necessary requirements and that they are tracking the distribution of the Notice of Rights.