Authored by Robert S. Whitman

For New York City employers, there’s a new sheriff in town.

Make that a new Mayor.

As we have reported previously, New York City recently enacted the Earned Sick Time Act, which requires most private employers to give up to 40 hours of sick leave a year to their employees working in the City.

Now, barely two weeks into his tenure – and more than two months before the law is slated to take effect on April 1 – Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed a significant expansion to the Act’s provisions.

According to the City website, the revised version of the Act would:

  • Extend paid sick leave to workers at businesses with five or more employees.  (The current version requires paid leave only for businesses with 20 or more workers when the Act takes effect, and for business with 15 or more workers 18 months later.  Mayor de Blasio estimates that this will result in paid coverage for an additional 355,000 workers.  Smaller employers would continue to be required to provide unpaid leave.)
  • Eliminate the phase-in of coverage.  (The current version mandates paid leave for companies with 20 or more employees in the first 18 months after the law goes into effect, and companies with 15 or more employees thereafter.)
  • Remove the exemptions for manufacturing employers.  (The current version exempts employers classified under sections 31-33 of the North American Industry Classification System.)
  • Add grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings to the definition of family members.  (The Act requires employers to allow employees to use sick leave to care for ill family members.  Under the current version, “family member” is limited to an employee’s child, spouse, domestic partner or parent, or the child or parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner.)
  • Eliminate the economic trigger for the Act to take effect.  (The economic trigger, however, has already been pulled, with the law scheduled to go into effect on April 1, 2014.  It does not appear that the revised version would take effect any earlier than April 1.)

These changes look to have strong support in the City Council.  Mayor de Blasio will introduce the revisions as a new version of the overall legislation, which City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has pledged to move quickly to a vote.