Domestic Violence Victims – A recently proposed bill (S1609), currently under review by the New York Senate Labor Committee, would amend the New York Labor Law to allow any employee who is a victim of domestic violence 90 days of unpaid leave from employment during any 12-month period in order to address ongoing domestic violence. The bill provides that the leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule, and the employer may require a sworn statement or other documentation to corroborate the employee’s request for this leave.

Sick Leave – On January 7, 2011, a bill pertaining to paid sick leave (S1490) was referred to the Senate Labor Committee for review. If passed, the bill would require all employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees, which shall accrue at the rate of one hour for every 20 hours worked by an employee. Employees may accrue up to 80 hours of paid sick leave, unless they are employees of a small business where only 40 hours may be accrued. This leave may be used to care for the employee, a child, parent, legal guardian, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, spouse, or other designated person. Employers would not be required to provide financial or other reimbursement for unused accrued sick leave upon an employee’s termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment.

Voting and School Conferences – A bill (S1482) relating to voting leave was introduced on January 7, 2011. If passed, the bill would guarantee employees up to two hours off from work, without loss of pay, in order to vote. This bill also would permit employees to take an entire day off without pay to serve as an election officer or poll watcher or to campaign for a candidate or ballot measure. On the same day, a bill was introduced (S1483) concerning leave for school conferences and classroom activities, which would enable parents to attend their child’s school-related functions during work hours for up to 16 hours during a school year. Employees may not take more than four hours in a given day. Under the proposed legislation, employees may take this unpaid leave only after they have exhausted all vacation, personal and other leave (except sick and disability leave). Both bills have been referred to the Senate Labor Committee.

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