Businesses with 20 or more employees will be required to provide paid sick time to their workers, if legislation before the New York City Council is passed. Although Mayor Bloomberg is expected to veto the bill, the City Council likely will override his veto.

Currently, businesses in New York are not required to offer paid time off. The proposed legislation would require businesses with 20 or more employees to provide up to five paid sick days per year beginning in April 2014. Beginning in October 2015, businesses with 15 or more employees would have the same requirement. Separately, businesses with fewer than 20 employees will need to provide five unpaid sick days per year, meaning employees could not be terminated for taking this time off to care for themselves or a family member.

Accruing paid time off

Eligible employees will accrue sick leave at the rate of one hour of leave for every 30 hours of work, beginning at an employee’s date of hire or on the date the law becomes effective, whichever is later. However, employees will not be permitted to take sick leave until they have been employed for four months.

At the end of each calendar year, the employer may either pay out any accrued, unused sick leave or permit the employee to carry over the accrued leave, up to a maximum of 40 sick leave hours. Under the proposed law, no employer will be required to provide more than 40 hours of sick leave to an employee during any calendar year (except to the extent applicable under the FMLA). Employers also will not be required to pay terminated employees for their unused, accrued sick leave. Paid sick time laws have been approved in Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Seattle; Portland, OR; and Connecticut. By contrast, last month Philadelphia’s mayor vetoed similar proposed legislation last month, and an attempted override was unsuccessful.