Employment-New York City Employers Will Have To Provide Paid Sick Leave (Maybe)

The New York City Council has voted to require private-sector NYC employers with at least 20 employees to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. The Council has sufficient votes to overcome a threatened veto by Mayor Bloomberg. The paid sick leave requirement will start to apply on April 1, 2014, provided that, on December 16, 2013, the NYC economy is performing at least as well as it was in January, 2012 (otherwise the requirement will not apply until after the NYC economy meets this threshold). The 20 employee threshold is decreased to 15 employees after the new law has been in effect for 18 months (that is, by October 1, 2015, if the April 1, 2014 effective date applies).

An employee who works in NYC for more than 80 hours in a calendar year is eligible for the paid sick leave. The employee would be entitled to one hour of paid sick leave, up to 40 hours in a calendar year, for every 30 hours worked. Leave first becomes available four months following the later of the effective date of the new law or the date of hire. Employees may carry over accrued but unpaid leave to future years, subject to the 40 hour cap per year, but the employer is not required to pay for any unused time at termination of employment. The employee may generally take paid sick leave for any mental or physical illness, injury or health condition. The employee may also take the leave to care, in certain instances, for family members.

The new law does not apply to certain manufacturers. Special rules apply with respect to domestic workers and union employees. Employers with less than 20 (or 15) employees must still provide them with up to 40 hours per year of unpaid sick leave, once the law goes into effect.