As a reminder, the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (“Paid Safe/Sick Leave Law”) became effective on May 5, 2018. The Paid Safe/Sick Leave Law applies to all employers with five or more employees who work more than 80 hours a year in New York City and requires employers to provide up to 40 hours (5 days) of paid safe and sick leave. Employers with less than five employees must provide unpaid sick and safe leave. In order to notify employees about their rights under the Paid Safe/Sick Leave Law, New York City employers must distribute written notice to their employees on the first day of employment or by June 4, 2018. Employers can find the new Notice of Employee Rights on the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) website, available here. The DCA also provides the new notice in Spanish, Chinese and 24 other languages.
This Ordinance, which was passed in September 2016, requires employers in Morristown, New Jersey to provide a certain amount of paid sick time per year depending on the size of the employer. Generally, employees who work more than 80 hours a year in Morristown will be covered under this Ordinance. The Morristown Ordinance is the 13th local paid sick leave ordinance enacted within New Jersey, following similar ordinances in the towns and cities of Bloomfield, East Orange, Elizabeth, Irvington, Jersey City, Montclair, Newark, New Brunswick, Passaic, Paterson, Plainfield, and Trenton.
On September 29, 2016, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a Final Rule implementing Executive Order 13706, which requires federal contractors and subcontractors performing work on or in connection with certain contracts to provide employees with up to 56 hours (7 days) of paid sick leave per year beginning on January 1, 2017. However, because this rule became final relatively recently, the Final Rule implementing EO 13706 could be rescinded by exercise of the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. §§ 801-808), which is not subject to filibuster.
Applicability of the Final Rule
The Final Rule applies to certain new contracts and replacement contracts for expiring contracts with the federal government requiring performance in whole or in part within the United States that result from solicitations issued on or after January 1, 2017 (or that are awarded outside the solicitation process on or after January 1, 2017).
In last week’s blog entry, Lynne Anne Anderson highlighted the increasing number of states that mandate employers to provide school related unpaid leave for parents. This week’s entry looks at another growing trend in the employee leave space, paid sick leave. An increasing number of states and localities now provide paid sick leave. It is important that both employers and employees are aware of this trend and whether these laws apply to their locality or state.
The following states (and District of Columbia) have paid sick leave laws:
The New York City Council has reached a compromise that will enable it to pass a paid sick leave law. Although Mayor Michael Bloomberg objects to the legislation, news outlets are virtually unanimous in predicting that the City Council has enough votes to override his veto. While federal law does not require employers to provide paid sick leave, Connecticut and some cities (including San Francisco, Seattle and Portland) have adopted paid sick leave laws. Other cities (including Philadelphia) are considering doing so. In New York City, even employers that already provide paid sick leave will have to take a close look at the new legislation and reconcile their current sick leave policies with the city’s mandates. For example, New York City’s proposed law includes anti-retaliation provisions that would prohibit employers from firing employees for using their paid sick leave.
What employers are covered by the proposed law and when would it go into effect?
Under the proposed New York City law, as of April 1, 2014, companies with 20 or more employees would have to provide at least five paid sick days a year. The law would be extended to apply to companies with 15 or more employees as of October 1, 2015. Earlier versions of the legislation had required nine paid sick days, so five days was part of the compromise lawmakers reached in response to small business owners’ very vocal objections. The New York City law is not as expansive as some other city laws. For example, paid leave obligations in San Francisco, Seattle and Portland apply to companies with as few as five employees.
Notably, the New York City law will also require companies of any size to provide five days of sick leave as of April 1, 2014, but the time off may be unpaid.
What employees would be eligible?
To be eligible for paid leave, employees working within the borders of New York City would have to be employed for at least 4 months. The law applies to full-time and part-time workers, although seasonal workers and student interns would not be eligible.
Other details include that the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs would have enforcement authority and there is a safety net provision that would delay implementation of the law if New York City’s economy slows down.
Advocates of the legislation claim that the law will provide paid sick leave for one million workers. It is clear that this law will have a significant impact on small businesses. The Society for Human Resource Management reports that only 32% of small businesses (50 or less employees) currently offer paid sick leave, and an advocacy group, A Better Balance, reports that over 80% of restaurant workers and 60% of retail workers in New York City do not receive pay when they miss work due to sickness. As noted above, this law will also impact larger employers to the extent that they do not already provide five days of paid sick leave or only offer benefits to full-time employees or employees employed for longer than four months. And, as with any new law, it is important to track implementation to comply with notice requirements, both in terms of posting and adoption of compliant company policies prior to the April 2014 and October 2015 effective dates.
On May 8, 2013, the New York City Council passed the Earned Sick Time Act by a 45-3 vote. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had vetoed the bill on June 7, 2013, but the New York City Council overrode the veto on June 27. New York City now joins San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Portland, and the State of Connecticut to pass mandatory sick leave laws.