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Proposed Changes to NYC’s Sick Leave Law Are Nothing to Sneeze At


February 17, 2014
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New York City’s sick leave law has not yet taken effect, but more changes could be in the offing. Mayor Bill de Blasio and incoming Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito recently announced proposed amendments to the law intended to increase its application and scope. As previously discussed on the Scarinci Hollenbeck Business Law News Blog, the mandatory sick leave law requires businesses with 20 or more employees to provide five paid sick days starting beginning April 1, 2014. The requirement will then apply to businesses with 15 or more employees on October 1, 2015. Smaller employers will be required to provide five days of unpaid sick leave annually. This type of “scaled” approach to implementing a law normally permits the affected employers the opportunity to absorb the economic impact of the law over a reasonable period of time. The new Mayor and Council Speaker apparently can’t wait.  Even before the law goes into effect, they are now proposing changes that would further expand the paid sick leave requirements for employers and take away any opportunity for such employers to gradually adjust to the economic impact of the law’s impositions. For example, consider an employer with 20 employees who make an average of $120/day.  The annual cost of such requirement to this employer is $12,000. The proposed changes include:
  • Immediately lowering the threshold to require businesses with five or more employees to provide paid sick leave.
  • Making the law effective for all employers on April 1, 2014, replacing the current law’s staggered compliance dates.
  • Expanding the definition of “family members” so that workers can use paid sick time to care for grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings.
  • Removing the exception for manufacturing businesses classified in sections 31, 32 and 33 of the North American Industry Classification System.
  • Increasing the timeline to file an administrative complaint to three years, up from 270 days.
We will continue to track the status of Mayor de Blasio’s proposed amendments. However, given the wide margin by which the original law passed (45-3), the changes are likely to become law. If you have any questions about the proposed amendments to New York City’s paid sick leave law or would like to discuss how it may impact your company’s policies, please contact me, Gary Young, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work.