New York City Sick Leave Law Gives Workers Relief

New law could have impact on decisions of other states, cities

(Image: Thinkstock)

Ever have a time where you’ve gone to work sick because you can’t afford to miss a day? If you work for a company that does not provide paid sick leave and you live in New York City, you now have relief. You’ll be joining employees in other cities that have passed similar laws including Portland, Ore., San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

The new measure makes New York City one of the most populous locations in the nation to require business owners and companies to provide paid sick leave. Advocates say the measure was needed because workers should not have to choose between physical health and financial health.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg opposed the law, seeking to veto it, citing it will hurt small businesses.

***UPDATED April 24, 2014***

New York Mayor Bill De Blasio has signed the paid sick leave bill into law. Tenants of this legislation include:

  • Starting April 1, 2014, private sector workers in businesses with 5 or more employees will be able to earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year. Private sector workers in smaller businesses will receive job protection for up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time a year.
  • Workers will earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.
  • Paid or unpaid sick time can be used to care for a worker’s own health needs or to care for the health needs of a worker’s spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, grandchild, grandparent, sibling or the child or parent of a worker’s spouse or domestic partner.
  • Workers will begin earning sick time as soon as they are hired but must work 120 days before they are able to use the time.
  • Part-time workers are covered and earn paid sick time based on hours worked.
  • Domestic are entitled to two paid sick days in addition to the “days of rest” they receive under state law.
  • Any type of paid leave—paid time off, vacation, personal days, etc.—will count for purposes of complying with the law as long as it can be used for sick leave purposes.
  • Workers will be protected against retaliation. The law will be enforced by the New York City
  • Department of Consumer Affairs, which will have the power to take complaints, investigate on its own initiative, and assess fines and damages for violations of the law. Complaints must be filed with the agency within two years.
  • The bill will not cover independent contractors, work-study students, government employees, and certain hourly occupational, speech, and physical therapists.
  • Collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) in the construction and grocery trades may opt covered workers out of this law, and other CBAs may opt out if the CBA provides comparable benefits.

 

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