The New York City Council recently agreed with labor unions on new proposed legislation that would require employers to provide five paid sick leave days (forty hours) per year to its employees. The bill, titled the Earned Sick Time Act (“ESTA”), would permit New York City employees to use these paid sick days to care for themselves or sick family members. The ESTA still needs to pass a vote by the City Council. The Department of Consumer Affairs would be the agency responsible for enforcing this proposed legislation.

Initially, the ESTA would apply only to companies with at least 20 employees as of April 2014. Then, in October 2015, the bill would apply to businesses with at least 15 employees. Ultimately, the ESTA would apply to all employers with five or more employees, except for the U.S. government, the state of New York, and the City of New York. It also would not apply to seasonal workers or work-study students. Businesses that do not meet the minimum employee threshold under the ESTA would, however, be required to provide up to five days (forty hours) of unpaid sick time to its employees.

To begin using the paid sick leave, employees would have to work at least four months at a particular employer. However, the paid leave begins to accrue immediately upon commencement of employment at a rate of one hour of leave for every thirty hours worked, up to a maximum of forty hours of sick time. Employers would be able to set a reasonable minimum increment for use of paid sick time not to exceed four hours per day.

The ESTA also includes provisions on notice and posting requirements as well as an anti-retaliation provision. The full text of this proposed legislation is available here.