NYC Adds “Safe Time” to Earned Sick Time Act

Effective June 4, 2018, employers in New York City will officially have additional obligations to follow as it pertains to notifying employees about their rights under the Earned Sick Time Act (the “Act”).  On May 5, 2018, the Act added amendments to provide employees with “safe time” to employees  – or a family member of the employee – who are victims of domestic violence, or unwanted sexual contact, stalking or human trafficking.  As a result, employees can now use time allotted under the Act to do the following:

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 family offenses, sexual offenses, stalking, human trafficking, custody, visitation, matrimonial issues, orders of protection, immigration, housing or discrimination in employment, housing or consumer credit
  • File a complaint or domestic incident report with law enforcement
  • Meet with a district attorney’s office
  • Enroll children in a new school
  • 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.

The amendment to the Act also the definition of “family member” so that employees can now use sick or safe time to assist “any other individual related by blood to the employee; and any other individual whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”

The accrual and maximum time an employee can take for such time did not expand under the amendment to the Act, so employers with five (5) or more employees must still allow employees to earn up to forty (40) hours per calendar year.  Employers are required to provide notice to employees under the Act, including the amendments thereto.  This includes providing all current employees and new hires with the Notice of Employee Rights in both English and each employee’s primary language, to the extent a form in such language is made available on the New York City Consumer Affairs website.

Based on the changes to the Act, it is important that employers review their policies to ensure that they comply with the Act by meeting or exceeding its requirements.  Thus, handbooks and internal policies should be updated to reflect the changes.

The Law Offices of Yale Pollack, P.C. (Syosset, Nassau County, Long Island) can assist in understanding the obligations the laws impose in New York City and throughout the State.  Please call 516-634-6340 for any questions you may have.