On March 20, 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law amendments to the New York City Earned Sick Time Act (also known as the Paid Sick Leave Law). The amended law, which will go into effect on April 1, 2014, will require New York City employers with at least five employees to provide up to 40 hours (five days) of paid sick time per calendar year for all employees who work more than 80 hours per calendar year. Employers with fewer than five employees will be required to provide unpaid sick time.

Employees should accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours of sick leave per calendar year. They should begin to accrue the leave on April 1, 2014, or at the commencement of employment, whichever is later. Employees who have accrued leave that they have not used at the end of the calendar year may carry over up to 40 hours of leave to the following year, though employers may also choose to pay an employee for unused sick leave at the end of the year.

The law also requires employers to provide written notice of employees’ rights under the law to new employees at the time of hire and to existing employees by May 1, 2014. Employers may also post the notice in the workplace, in an area accessible to employees. The notice must include the accrual and use of sick leave, the employer’s calendar year, the right to be free from retaliation, and the right to file a complaint. Printable notice forms are now available at the website for the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). Notice must be provided in English and — if it is available on the DCA website — in the employee’s primary language. Additionally, employers must maintain records documenting their compliance with the law for at least three years.

Employers that already provide at least five days of paid time off are not required to provide additional sick time under the law, if employees are able to use the time off as sick leave (including to care for the health needs of a family member) and the time off otherwise meets or exceeds the law’s requirements (including, for example, the accrual rate and carry over requirements). Furthermore, the provisions do not apply to employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, if the agreement provides for a comparable benefit and waives the provisions of the law.

The DCA has provided an employer reference sheet, as well as a comprehensive FAQ. For more information about the Paid Sick Leave Law, or other employment issues, please contact the authors of this alert or the Hogan Lovells lawyer with whom you work.