Executive Summary: The New York City Earned Sick Time Act ("the Act") goes into effect today, April 1, 2014. The Act requires employers with at least five employees who work at least 80 hours per year in NYC to provide all such employees with at least 40 hours of paid sick time per year.
The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs ("DCA") has posted FAQs and guidance clarifying the Act's requirements for both employees and employers on its website at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dca/html/law/PaidSickLeave.shtml.
The DCA has also posted sample Notices of Employee Rights in English, Spanish, Italian, and Russian. Employers must provide written notice of employees' rights under the Act in English and the employee's primary language to existing employees by May 1, 2014 and to new employees at the commencement of their employment.
The Act does not require employers to provide additional paid sick time if their existing paid leave policy (regardless if leave is called vacation, sick, personal, or paid time off) meets the requirements of the Act. However, covered employers should immediately review and revise their paid time off policies and employee handbooks to assure they comply with the Act. In particular, employers may need to expand the permitted reasons for which employees may use sick time, adjust the sick time accrual rate and carry over policy, make sick time available to both part-time as well as full-time employees, and ensure that they are maintaining proper records demonstrating compliance with the Act for at least three years.