As previously reported here, the New York City Earned Sick Time Act is scheduled to go into effect on April 1, 2014. While this date remains in place, the New York City Council amended the law late last week, resulting in numerous expansions that are expected to be approved by Mayor Bill de Blasio. These amendments include:

  • Employers with less than five employees will be required to provide five unpaid sick days per year, beginning immediately on April 1, 2014.
  • In addition to using sick time for personal medical care, the original law allowed this same time to be used for the care of a spouse, domestic partner, children, or parents.  This list has been expanded to include grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings.
  • The exemption for the manufacturing sector has been removed.
  • Records related to the Act’s requirements must now be retained for three years, not only two.
  • The time for filing a complaint alleging a violation of the Act has been extended from 270 days to two years.
  • A poster regarding an employee’s notice of rights under the Act, which should be published before April 1, 2014, must be conspicuously posted in the workplace, whereas the original law provided that this was optional.  In addition, employers still must distribute a notice of rights under the Act to all current employees by May 1, 2014, and to all new employees upon commencement of employment.
  • While the original version of the law tasked the Department of Consumer Affairs with enforcing the law, the Mayor will now have the authority to designate enforcement authority to another City agency.  Employers will be required to respond to a complaint filed with the applicable agency within 30 days of written notice of the complaint.

Given the expanded reach of the Earned Sick Time Act and these new amendments, it is recommended that employers both large and small reach out to legal counsel to ensure compliance with this law in advance of the April 1, 2014 effective date. Day Pitney LLP is available to discuss with New York City employers the best strategies to ensure compliance with the requirements of this law.• For the law’s requirement to provide five paid sick days per year, the amended Earned Sick Time Act will now apply to any New York City employer with five or more employees, which is a significant departure from the original 20-employee threshold.