Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Employers in NYC Must Update Their Sick and Safe Leave Policies

On September 28, 2020, Mayor De Blasio signed a bill into law amending the New York City Paid Sick and Safe Leave law to make it largely consistent with New York State's new Paid Sick Leave law. 

The law amends the New York City Paid Sick and Safe Leave law as follows:

Amount of Sick Leave

  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income of over a million dollars are obligated to provide 40 hours of Paid Sick and Safe Leave per calendar year (no prior requirement);
  • Employers with 5-99 employees (regardless of net income) are required to provide 40 hours per calendar year (unchanged);
  • Employers with 100 or more employees are required to provide 56 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year (previously 40 hours). 
Other Notable Changes:
  • Each pay period, an employer must provide to all employees a writing (whether via paystub or other document) containing the amount of sick leave accrued and used by the employee;
  • If employers require employees to provide supporting medical documentation when using Paid Sick and Safe Leave, employers must reimburse employees for any fees incurred in obtaining such documentation;
  • The new law permits the City to conduct an investigation into employer violations (even if there is no employee complaint) and commence a civil litigation against an employer;
  • Employers can face civil penalties of $500 per violation plus a $15,000 penalty if they engage in a "pattern or practice" of violation of the law. If employee is discharged in violation of the law, an employer can be obligated to pay a $2,500 penalty in addition to lost wages/benefits.

The amendments to the law take effect on September 30, 2020. Employers with employees in New York City should update their policies to avoid exposure.