Mayor De Blasio Signs Paid Sick Leave Bill into Law to Benefit Half a Million More New Yorkers

On March 20, 2014, New york City Mayor, Bill De Blasio, signed his first bill into law – extending the right to paid sick leave to half a million more New Yorkers. Under New York City’s Earned Sick Time Act (Paid Sick Leave Law), certain employers must give their employees sick leave, which they can use for the care and treatment of themselves or a family member. The new law will require all businesses in New York with 5 or more employees to provide paid time off for its employees who are hired to work more than 80 hours a calendar year in New York City. Employers with less than 5 employees must provide unpaid sick leave. Employers who have one or more domestic workers who have been employed at least one year and who work more than 80 hours a calendar year must provide paid sick leave. The law will enter into force on April 1, but businesses with fewer than 19 employees will be allowed a six-month grace period before they are subject to fines “[b]ecause we recognize that there’s a period of time for employers to get to know the law, and work with the department to understand it” as stated by Consumer Affairs Deputy Commissioner Marla Tepper. The previous legislation only applied to companies with 15 or more workers.

As stated in the New York City press release, the paid sick leave law builds upon and expands on previous legislation by:

• “Eliminating the phase-in, which would have delayed coverage to workers at businesses between 15 and 20 workers. This means 140,000 people who would have waited until mid-2015 under the existing bill will have coverage this April. Eighty-five thousand of those workers do not currently have a single paid sick day.
• Removing exemptions for the manufacturing sector, extending paid sick leave coverage to 76,000 workers, half of whom don’t currently have any paid sick days.
• Adding grandparents, grandchildren and siblings to the definition of family members workers can legally care for using paid sick time.
• Eliminating the economic trigger that could have delayed implementation of paid sick leave based on certain economic benchmarks.”

Mayor De Blasio, who signed the bill at the Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based Steve’s Ice Cream shop, stated: “[f]rom Day One of this administration, we’ve made it our mission to lift up working families and raise the wage and benefit floor for all New Yorkers. 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. Today is truly a historic day that takes us one step closer toward that goal.”

If you are an employee and you believe your employer wrongfully denied you paid sick leave, please contact the Harman Firm P.C.