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New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Issues Mandatory Poster Notifying Employees of Rights Under the NYC Earned Sick Time Act

March 25, 2014

As previously reported here (see "New York City Council Amends and Expands Earned Sick Time Act") the New York City Earned Sick Time Act (“ESTA”) is scheduled to go into effect on April 1, 2014.  The law requires that all employers with five or more employees working in New York City must provide five paid sick days per calendar year, and employers with fewer than five employees must provide five unpaid sick days per calendar year. Under ESTA employers are required to provide employees with a notice informing employees of their rights under the law.  The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) published the required notice on March 20, 2014.  A copy of the English version of the poster can be found at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dca/downloads/pdf/MandatoryNotice.pdf. The DCA has also published a list of “Frequently Asked Questions,” which can be found at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dca/downloads/pdf/PaidSickLeaveFAQ.pdf

Notices must be given to existing employees by May 1, 2014 and to new employees when they begin employment. The notice must be provided in English and, if available on the DCA website, in the employee’s primary language.  According to the FAQ’s, notices are available on the DCA website in English, Spanish, Chinese, French-Creole, Italian, Korean, and Russian.  

Employers are encouraged, but not required, to post the notice in the workplace in an area accessible to employees.  Even if the notice is posted, however, employers must still provide individual notice to each employee.  We recommend having employees sign the notice and that the signed version be kept on file so that employers will have a record that the required notice was provided. A civil penalty of up to $50 can be imposed upon an employer for each employee who was not given the required notice of employee rights.

On the required notice, employers must fill in the month and day their calendar year begins and ends. According to the DCA’s FAQ’s, a “calendar year” means any consecutive 12-month period of time determined by an employer.” The DCA also notes that “[m]ost employers will find it helpful to use the ‘calendar year’ that they use for calculating wages and benefits, including a year that runs from January 1 to December 31, tax year, fiscal year, contract year, or the year running from an employee’s anniversary date of employment.” 

Please do not hesitate to contact any of our attorneys if you have any questions regarding your company’s obligations under this new law.