Employers and employees in New York City are already tasked with understanding and navigating the various leave and time off requirements. If you work or run a business in New York City, you need to be aware of your rights and obligations under federal, state, and local laws.
New York City is well-known for passing progressive and pro-employee legislation, particularly in recent years. Now, the City Council is considering passing a law requiring employers to provide paid vacation to their employees, which the mayor supports.
Current paid leave law
Currently, New York City leave laws require employers in the city with at least five employees to provide paid sick and safe time to their employees, earned at a rate of one hour of time off for every 30 hours worked. An employer does not need to provide any single employee with more than 40 hours of paid sick leave in a given year, but may offer more than 40 hours of paid sick time if they choose.
Employees not eligible for paid time off are still entitled to the same time off, but without pay.
Sick time includes time off for the employee’s own or a family member’s mental or physical illness or injury or for preventative medical care, or for time off for a public health emergency that closes the employer’s business or to care for a child whose school or day care closes for this reason.
Safe time was added to the sick time law in mid-2018. Safe time gives an employee paid time off if they or a family member are the victim of a “family offense matter, sexual offense, stalking or human trafficking.” Time off may be used for a variety of related services, to move and enroll a child in a new school, for “safety planning” and actions to protect from future harm, for related legal proceedings and more.
Proposed paid personal time off
Amendments to the city’s paid time off laws are under consideration before the City Council. The proposed changes would add “personal time” off to the sick and safe time already required under city law. Personal time would be available for employees to use for “any reason,” including the reasons for which sick or safe time may be taken.
People are referring to this proposal as a paid vacation requirement. According to the Gotham Gazette, small-business owners are concerned about the potential financial impact on their operations, especially since small-business closures are on the rise in New York City. Many employers believe that they may need to lay off some employees if the local legislation passes, with some urging the city government to pay for the vacation time should it be required.
We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates on the proposed legislation if and when they arise.