New York City's Earned Sick Time Act ("Paid Sick Leave Law") became effective on April 1, 2014. The Paid Sick Leave Law requires that most New York City private employers provide sick leave to full-time and part-time employees and domestic workers—with penalties for non-compliance.

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs ("DCA") recently issued guidelines to assist employers in determining their responsibilities under the law, which include providing specific notices to employees.

Which Employers Are Required to Provide Sick Leave

Employers with 5 or more employees who are hired to work more than 80 hours per calendar year in New York City must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.

Employers who have 1 or more domestic workers who have been employed at least one year and who work more than 80 hours a calendar year must provide 2 days of paid sick leave per year. This benefit is in addition to the 3 days of paid rest provided to domestic workers under New York State Labor Law.

Employers with less than 5 employees must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per year.

When calculating the number or employees, employers should count full-time, part-time and temporary employees who work more than 80 hours per calendar year. The law exempts certain employees from coverage including certain employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement.

Notice Requirements

The Paid Sick Leave Law requires that employers subject to the law provide employees and domestic workers written notice of their rights under the law. The notice must include:

  • A statement that the employee or domestic worker has a right to sick leave;
  • Acceptable uses of sick leave, which include the care of the employee or a family member;
  • The employer's calendar year;
  • Rate of accrual of sick leave; and
  • Must inform the employee/domestic worker of their right to file a complaint and the right to be free from retaliation.

The DCA Guidelines provide a Form Notice to Employees. Employees/Domestic Workers have a right to the notice in English and, if available through the DCA's website, in their primary language.

Notice must be given even if the employer's sick leave policy is more generous than that which is required under the Paid Sick Leave law.

Deadline to Provide Notice

Employers must provide compliant notices to employees/domestic workers on or before the dates below.

Existing Employees: May 1, 2014

(employed by employer before April 1, 2014)

New Employees: First day of employment

(first employed on or after April 1, 2014)


Employers must keep and maintain records documenting compliance with the law for at least 3 years and employers must keep any employee health related information confidential.

Although not required under the law, it is recommended that employers maintain a copy of the Notice signed by each employee/domestic worker. Employers may be fined for failure to provide notice or comply with the law.

Compliance with the Paid Sick Leave Law

The Paid Sick Leave Law sets the minimum sick leave benefits which must be provided. It's important that all New York City employers examine their existing sick leave policies to ensure compliance with the law. Sick leave polices must be updated not only to include the minimum benefits under the law, but must also be updated to include compliant:

  • Accrual rates
  • Allowable uses
  • Maturity dates
  • Advance notice requirements
  • Allowance for roll-over of unused benefits
  • Documentation requirements for employees

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.