Tag Archives: Sick leave

New York City Passes Paid Sick Leave Law

Contributed by Samantha Esmond

On April 5, 2013, we blogged about the resurgence of proposed paid sick leave legislation, which had been considered by the New York City Council since 2009. The New York City Council initially approved the legislation on May 8, 2013 and, as promised, Mayor Bloomberg vetoed the legislation on June 6, 2013.

Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s veto, the New York City Council garnered enough votes to override his veto and enact the “Earned Sick Time Act.” Several other cities, including Seattle, Portland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. have passed similar laws. However, New York City is the most populous city yet to require employers to provide paid sick leave. It has been estimated that this new law will affect nearly one million New Yorkers.

Specifically, the Act requires employers who employ twenty (20) or more employees and all employers of one or more domestic workers to provide paid sick time to their employees beginning on April 1, 2014. The Act is expanded to cover employers who employ fifteen (15) or more employees beginning on October 1, 2015.  Employers who do not employ the requisite number of employees will be required to provide employees with up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave once the law takes effect on April 1, 2014.

Under the Act, employers shall provide a minimum of one (1) hour of sick time for every thirty (30) hours worked, with a maximum of no more than forty (40) hours of paid sick leave per calendar year, as defined by the employer. To be eligible for paid sick time, employees must work within New York City limits and must have been employed for more than eighty (80) hours in a calendar year. The Act further provides that eligible employees shall be entitled to use sick time for themselves or to care for an eligible family member who is in need of:  (1) a medical diagnosis; (2) care or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; or (3) preventative medical care.

Although, New York City employers must provide paid sick leave, they may require reasonable notice of the need to use such sick leave, not to exceed seven (7) days advance notice, and request documentation for absences of more than three (3) consecutive workdays. The Act further requires employers to provide employees with written notice of the Act’s requirements, upon commencement of the employment relationship and requires employers to maintain records documenting their compliance. The full text of this new Act is available here.

IMPACT:  New York City employers should be cognizant of the new requirements of the Earned Sick Time Act, including the notice and recordkeeping provisions, and update all employee handbooks and sick leave policies to ensure compliance.

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.

FMLA Amended For Airline Flight Crews

Contributed by Karuna Brunk

The Department of Labor (DOL) issued a statement regarding expanded protection to military families.  Hidden in the discussion of military families and DOL’s commitment to those who serve was a single statement about added regulations to the Family Medical Leave Act for airline flight crew employees.   

In fact, on February 5, 2013, DOL issued a final rule to implement the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act, which established leave eligibility requirements for airline flight crewmembers and attendants.  Essentially, the new rule attempts to account for airline employees’ unusual and unique work schedules. 

The Specifics for Aviation Employers:

  • DOL’s new rule implements a minimum hourly work requirement for airline employees to be eligible for FMLA leave.  For airline flight employees to be eligible for FMLA under the new amendments, they must have worked or been paid for not less than 60 percent of the applicable total monthly guarantee.  Additionally, they must have worked or been paid for not less than 504 hours during the 12 months prior to their leave. 
  • The DOL rule entitles airline flight crew employees to 72 days of leave during any 12-month period for one or more FMLA-qualifying reasons (i.e. birth of a child, care of a family member, serious health condition, etc.).  DOL established the 72 days of leave based on a six-day workweek for all airline flight crew employees, regardless of how much time the employees actually worked.  This was multiplied by the statutory 12-workweek entitlement under FMLA. 
  • Because DOL has recalculated how much leave an airline flight crew employee can take based on days, employers must track FMLA leave, intermittent leave, or a reduced schedule in increments of one day
  • Employers have new record keeping requirements – record and keep documents that contain information specifying the monthly FMLA guarantee for each category of employee, including any copies of collective bargaining agreements or employer policy documents.  Also employers should record the hours worked and hours paid for each employee.  

The Department of Labor has released a new FMLA poster discussing the new final rule that can be found here.