New York Employers Look Out – New Paid Sick Leave Requirements Are Coming

Contributed by Karuna Brunk

In the midst of high unemployment and a slow economic recovery, New York City is poised to pass new requirements for paid sick leave.  Although, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pledged to veto the new law, the City Council reportedly has enough votes to override his veto. 

The new law, that would go into effect on April 1, 2014, would require companies with 20 or more employees to provide at least five paid sick days a year.  Additionally, on October 1, 2015, the law would be extended to apply to companies with 15 or more employees.  Companies of any size will also be required to provide five sick days as of April 1, 2014, but the leave may be unpaid. 

Eligible employees must work in New York City and have been employed for at least 4 months.  The new law applies to full-time and part-time workers and could affect about 1 million workers in industries ranging from food service to construction. 

Proponents of paid sick leave laud the law as a huge step because of the prominence of New York City, and its number of workers.  Other cities that currently require paid sick leave include Seattle, Portland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. 

New York City employers should watch for passage of this law and comply with its timeline.  It will affect both small and large businesses alike.  Additionally, employers should be mindful of any notice posting requirements and updates to employee handbooks that may be required as a result of the passage of this law.