Approximately eight months after passing the Earned Sick Time Act (the “Act”) and a month prior to the law taking effect, the New York City Council amended the Act (the “Amendment”) with the support of Mayor Bill De Blasio. As we provided the Act’s details in our July 29, 2013 advisory, here are the significant modifications the Council adopted:
- Enforcing Agency: Although the Act designates the Department of Consumer Affairs as the agency tasked with enforcing it, the Amendment permits the mayor to designate another agency to enforce it. The Amendment also clarifies that the commissioner of the enforcing agency has the power to conduct investigations into potential violations on his or her own initiative.
- Definition of Family: Family members include an employee's child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, grandchild or grandparent, or the child or parent of an employee's spouse or domestic partner.
- Exceptions to Covered Employers: Employers required to provide employees with paid sick leave have been expanded to include employers that employ five or more employees (previously it was limited to employers with 15 or more employees). In addition, the exception for certain employers in the manufacturing industry has been eliminated.
- All Employers Required to Comply as of April 1: The Act will apply to all covered employers beginning on April 1, 2014 – eliminating the 18-month delay in enactment for smaller employers. However, employers with fewer than 20 employees or in the manufacturing industry previously exempted from the Act shall not be subject to any civil penalty for any violation that occurs prior to October 1, 2014. Other remedies, however, still will be available with respect to such employers.
- Record Retention: The requirement for employers to retain records documenting compliance with the Act has been lengthened from two to three years.
- Statute of Limitations: The statute of limitations for a person filing a complaint alleging a violation of the Act has been lengthened from 270 days to two years from the date the person knew or should have known of the alleged violation.
- Employer Response to Complaint: The individual or entity named in any complaint alleging a violation of the Act shall provide a written response to the Complaint within 30 days of being notified of the Complaint by the department.
- Notice to Current Employees: Employers must provide notice to an employee at the later of the employee’s commencement of employment or within 30 days of the Act’s effective date. Employment and placement agencies also must provide notice of the Act to the employee and employer family.