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New York City Council Amends and Expands Earned Sick Time Act

March 6, 2014

On February 26, 2014 the New York City Council amended the New York City Earned Sick Time Act (“ESTA”) to, among other things, expand its coverage to employers with five or more employees. The law, as amended, will take effect on April 1, 2014, and applies to employees who work more than 80 hours in New York City in a calendar year.

As previously reported here (see “NYC Council Approves Paid Sick Time Bill With Veto-Proof Margin”), the NYC Council approved the legislation with a veto-proof margin on May 8, 2013, and the law was formally enacted on June 26, 2013. Originally, the ESTA required employers with 20 or more employees to provide five paid sick days per calendar year to all full time and part time employees, required all employers with fewer than 20 employees to provide five days of unpaid sick leave per calendar year, and was set to expand in 2015 to require employers with 15 or more workers to provide five paid sick days.

As amended, the ESTA now requires that, by April 1, 2014, 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.

Additional changes made to ESTA include:

As with the previous version of the ESTA, employers who already provide employees with five paid days off per calendar year (whether in the form of paid sick days, personal days, or vacation time) will not be required to provide additional paid time off to comply with the ESTA, provided that: (1) the employer’s paid time off (PTO) policy must offer the same, or more generous, paid leave as that provided for in the ESTA; (2) the PTO policy must allow employees to use paid leave in the same manner and under the same conditions as the ESTA. For example:

Several key provisions of the ESTA remain unchanged, including the following:

We will provide notice on this web site when an official ESTA poster or notice is issued by the Department of Consumer affairs or another agency designated by the Mayor.

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