New York City recently expanded its paid sick leave law to provide protected time off to employees who are the victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking and to broaden the definition of a covered family member. The expansions to the city’s sick leave law, now dubbed the NYC Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (the “Act”) took effect May 5, 2018. Employers must take immediate steps to comply with the expanded law.

What do the expansions entail?

Under the Act, New York City employers with five or more employees must provide eligible employees with up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year which can be used for the care and treatment of the employee or a covered family member. Employers with fewer than five employees must provide unpaid sick leave. The recent amendments to the Act give employees the right to take safe leave, which can be used to seek assistance or take other safety measures if the employee or a family member is the victim of domestic violence, unwanted sexual contact, stalking or human trafficking.

Additionally, the Act broadens the definition of a covered family member. Previously, employees could use protected sick time to care for a spouse, domestic partner, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or the child or parent of the employee’s spouse or domestic partner. Under the expanded law, the definition of covered family members also includes “any other individuals related by blood to an employee” or “any individual whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”

Full details of the amendments are available here.

What do NYC employers need to do to comply?

New York City employers must take immediate steps to comply with the expanded sick leave law. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs has issued a revised Notice of Employee Rights, which replaces the prior Notice of Employee Rights.

  • The revised Notice of Employee Rights must be provided to current employees by June 4, 2018.
  • The revised Notice of Employee Rights must be provided to new employees at the time of hire on a going forward basis. Employers should remove the old Notice of Employee Rights from their onboarding materials and replace it with the new one.

Additionally, employers must update their handbook policies to reflect the expansions to the Act.