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New York City Paid Sick Leave in Effect

As of April 1, 2014 1.2 million workers have paid sick leave for the very first time.  Under New York City’s Earned Sick Time Act (also known as the Paid Sick Leave Law), business with five or more workers who are hired to work more than 80 calendar hours in a calendar year must provide up to five paid sick days.  The worker can use their paid sick leave if they or a close relative gets sick.

“This is a good day for thousands of working New Yorkers who have never had paid sick days before – no parent will have to choose between caring for a child and putting food on the table. Expanding the Earned Sick Time Act is the right thing to do, and this bill signing is proof of what can be achieved when government works for the people,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Under the law, the workers cannot be fired or retaliated against for taking sick leave. Therefore, employers cannot retaliate against an individual for requesting and using sick leave, filing a complaint for alleged violations of the law with the Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”), communicating with other individuals about any violation of the law, participating in a court proceeding regarding an alleged violation of the law, and informing other individuals of that persons potential rights.

The law also requires employers to give written notice to current employees by May 1, 2014 as well as to new employees. The employers must also post the notice in the workplace in an area that is 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.

The majority, if not all, “white collar” positions provide guaranteed paid sick time.  However, most minimum wage positions before April 1st did not voluntarily provide paid sick leave.  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio noted that the Paid Sick Leave Law aims to reduce income inequality by raising the wage and benefit floor. “This law is the first of many steps we are taking to fundamentally address inequality in this city and make this a city where everyone rises together,” Bill de Blasio said. “Today is truly a historic day that takes us one step closer toward that goal.”  It remains to be seen, though, if the Paid Sick Leave Law will scare off employers from hiring minimum wage workers or have an overall detrimental impact on the economy.

Workers are permitted to begin earning sick time as of April 1st, however they will not be able to use their sick time until July 30, 2014.  For more information on the new law, the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs is distributing information by presenting briefings for business owners and posting ads on buses, subways and bus shelters. They also have information available on its website.

If you have questions with respect to the Paid Sick Leave Act please do not hesitate to contact our office at (212) 323-6980 or at

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