The updated Sick and Safe Leave Law requires all employers from all private sector workers in New York State to provide and adjust the amount of sick leave their employees will receive regardless of industry, occupation, part-time status, overtime exempt status, and seasonal status.
The amended law requires employers with five or more employees to provide their employees with paid sick and safe leave. Meanwhile, businesses with fewer than five employees and a net income of $1 million or less must provide unpaid sick and safe leave to employees.
For businesses with 0-4 employees with a net income of $1 million or less in the previous tax year, the employer is required to provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per calendar year. If net income is greater than $1 million in the previous tax year, the employer is required to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.
Those with 5 – 99 employees are required to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year. While those with more than a hundred will be allowing up to 56 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.
After January 1, 2021, employees may use accrued leave following a verbal or written request to their employer for sick or safe leave for reasons impacting the employee or a member of their family for whom they are providing care or assistance with care.
Safe leave may be used for an absence from work when the employee or employee’s family member has been the victim of domestic violence as defined by the State Human Rights Law, a family offense, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking due to any of the following as it relates to the domestic violence, family offense, sexual offense,
stalking, or human trafficking:
• to obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other services program;
• 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;
• to meet with an attorney or other social services provider to obtain information and advice on, and prepare for or
participate in any criminal or civil proceeding;
• 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 any other actions necessary to ensure the health or safety of the employee or the employee’s family
member or to protect those who associate or work with the employee.
Safe Leaves can be availed without needing a police report or for the perpetrator to be convicted. It can also be availed despite the employee’s immigration status. Unused safe leaves can also be donated to other employees.
Sick leave may be availed for mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, regardless of whether it has been diagnosed or requires medical care at the time of the request for leave; or for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition; or need for medical diagnosis or preventive care.
As with any law being implemented, it is the legal obligation of an employer to inform all of his or her employees of their rights, and post updated labor-related policies in visible posting areas especially concerning laws which will take effect this 2021.
If employers fail to provide an employee his or her right to avail for paid sick or safe leave, employees may file a complaint with the Department of Labor by calling 888-469-7365.
Compliance Posters of America makes it easy for employers to comply with mandatory posting requirements with our 2021 New York and Federal Labor Law Poster, making sure employees and employers are also aware of their rights and responsibilities.