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New York City Amends its Earned Sick and Safe Time Act to Align with New York State’s Paid Sick Leave Law

November 4, 2020

Update: Employers Must Comply With Notice Requirements Regarding Amended New York City Earned Sick and Safe Time Act by January 1, 2021

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) has published a revised notice of employee rights to reflect the amendments made to the New York City Earned Sick and Safe Time Act (NYC ESSTA), available here.

Employers must post this updated notice of rights in the workplace by January 1, 2021 in an area that is visible and accessible to employees. Employers with 100 or more employees must also provide this notice to their current employees by January 1, 2021.

Additionally, as of January 1, 2021, employers must provide this new notice to employees when they begin employment.

This notice must be given to employees in English and, if available on the DCA website, the employee’s primary language. The website currently has English and Spanish versions of the new notice. Additional information regarding compliance with this notice requirement is provided in FAQs published on the DCA's website, which are available here.

October 2, 2020

As previously reported here, employees began accruing sick leave under New York State’s new Paid Sick Leave Law (“NYS PSLL”), § 196-b of the New York Labor Law, on September 30, 2020. 

On September 28, 2020, New York City Mayor de Blasio signed into law amendments to the Earned Sick and Safe Time Act (“NYC ESSTA”) (see Int 2032-2020) to align the NYC ESSTA with the requirements of the NYS PSLL. The amendments to the NYC ESSTA also add new requirements. Both the NYS PSLL and the amendments to the NYC ESSTA became effective on September 30, 2020, but the additional leave provided by both laws cannot be used until January 1, 2021.

Requirements of Both NYC and NYS Laws

As with the NYS PSLL, the amendments to the NYC ESSTA require employers to provide sick leave as follows:

Employer Size

Number of Sick Leave Days Per Year

Employers with four (4) or fewer employees and under $1 million in net income the previous tax year

Up to forty (40) hours of unpaid sick leave

Employers with four (4) or fewer employees and over $1 million in net income the previous tax year

New: Up to forty (40) hours of paid sick leave

Employers with between five (5) and ninety-nine (99) employees

Up to forty (40) hours of paid sick leave

Employers with one hundred (100) or more employees

New: Up to fifty-six (56) hours of paid sick leave


The sick/safe time must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay at the time the leave is taken (not including tips or other allowances). 

What Has Changed for NYC Employers?

As previously reported here, employers in NYC must comply with both the NYS and NYC laws, which means that such employers must amend their current policies to reflect the following:

Under this provision, employees begin to accrue the additional sixteen (16) hours of sick/safe leave on September 30, 2020 but cannot use those additional hours until January 1, 2021. Employees in NYC can continue to use up to forty (40) hours of sick/safe leave as it is accrued.

Collective Bargaining Agreements

Notably, the amendments do not affect the exception in the NYC ESSTA for collective bargaining agreements, which states that the provisions of the law do not apply to employees covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement if:

Future Guidance

As of the date of this article, the New York State Department of Labor has not issued regulations or Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) to provide further guidance on the NYS PSLL.

The NYC DWCP has summarized the amendments to the NYC ESSTA on its website, available here, and states that it is in the process of updating agency materials, which include a law/rules packet, and FAQs.

We will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Please feel free to reach out to any of our attorneys if you have any questions or would like our assistance in updating your policies to comply with the new legal amendments.