NYC Paid Sick/Safe Time Law Expands

New York City’s Sick Leave Law was expanded on May 5, 2018, to include additional reasons for eligible employees to use NYC paid sick leave (called “safe leave”) including:

  • to obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other shelter or services program for relief from a family offense matter, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking;
  • to participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocate, or take other actions to increase the safety of the employee or employee’s family members from future family offense matters, sexual offenses, stalking, or human trafficking;
  • to meet with a civil attorney or other social service provider to obtain information and advice on, and prepare for or participate in any criminal or civil proceeding, including but not limited to, matters related to a family offense matter, sexual offense, stalking, human trafficking, custody, visitation, matrimonial issues, orders of protection, immigration, housing, discrimination in employment, housing or consumer credit;
  • to file a complaint or domestic incident report with law enforcement;
  • to meet with a district attorney’s office;
  • to enroll children in a new school; or
  • to take other actions necessary to maintain, improve, or restore the physical, psychological, or economic health or safety of the employee or the employee’s family member or to protect those who associate or work with the employee.

As with the provisions for sick leave, for safe leave absences of more than three consecutive work days, an employer may require reasonable documentation to authorize the use of safe time. Documentation may include that which is signed by an employee, agent, or volunteer of a victim services organization, an attorney, a member of the clergy, or a medical or other professional service provider from whom the employee or employee’s family member has sought assistance in addressing family offense matters, sex offenses, stalking, or human trafficking and their effects; or a police or court record. Alternatively, a notarized letter from an employee explaining the need for such time shall be considered reasonable documentation and an employer shall not require that such documentation specify the details of the family offense matter, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking. Also, an employer may require reasonable notice, of not more than seven days when foreseeable, of the need to use safe time.

The definition of a sexual offense under the NYC Sick/Safe Time Law is included in Article 130 of the NY Penal Law. The definition of a “family offense” under the Law is “an act or threat of an act that may constitute disorderly conduct, harassment in the first degree, harassment in the second degree, aggravated harassment in the second degree, sexual misconduct, forcible touching, sexual abuse in the third degree, sexual abuse in the second degree as set forth in subdivision 1 of section 130.60 of the penal law, stalking in the first degree, stalking in the second degree, stalking in the third degree, stalking in the fourth degree, criminal mischief, menacing in the second degree, menacing in the third degree, reckless endangerment, strangulation in the first degree, strangulation in the second degree, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, assault in the second degree, assault in the third degree, an attempted assault, identity theft in the first degree, identity theft in the second degree, identity theft in the third degree, grand larceny in the fourth degree, grand larceny in the third degree or coercion in the second degree as set forth in subdivisions 1, 2 and 3 of section 135.60 of the penal law between spouses or former spouses, or between parent and child or between members of the same family or household.”

The Law requires employers to post the new, revised posting by June 4, 2018.

An employer must maintain records of safe leave, in addition to sick leave, for three years.

The amendment to the NYC Sick Leave Law applies to employers that employ five or more employees and all employers of one or more domestic workers.

For questions regarding this law, or employment matters generally, please feel free to contact an attorney in the Gibbons Employment & Labor Law Department.

Elizabeth Cowit, Counsel in the Gibbons Employment & Labor Law Department, authored this post.