As we covered in our June 2013 and December 2013 issues, New York City’s Earned Sick Time Act becomes effective on April 1, 2014. Yet, having barely been sworn into office, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced legislation to make the following changes to the impending law:

  • remove the phase-in period by lowering the threshold for covered entities from 15 to 5 employees (other than domestic workers);
  • add grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings to the definition of “family members” (which currently includes child, spouse, domestic partner, and parent) who can be cared for with earned sick time;
  • omit the exemption for manufacturing employers; and
  • in addition to enforcement via the New York City Department of Health, permit enforcement and regulation by any city agency of the mayor’s choosing. As such, Mayor de Blasio could task the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs or the New York City Commission on Human Rights to administratively enforce the sick leave law. These entities are also empowered to adopt regulations in furtherance of the new law.

The bill is expected to easily and quickly pass the City Council and be signed into law by Mayor de Blasio prior to the Act’s effective date of April 1, 2014.

Given that the Act originally passed in 2013 over former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto, the new bill shows that Mayor de Blasio is keen to display his imprimatur upon the sick leave law. These changes also auger a New York City administration keen to make employee protections a priority as promised during the 2013 mayoral campaign. New York City employers should continue to stay apprised.

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