Beginning in 2014, employers with full time or part-time employees that work in New York City will be required to provide minimum sick time. Depending on the number of employees qualified, it may be paid or unpaid.
Here are the rules:
# employees When it starts Annual Maximum PTO
20 employees Paid leave beginning April 1, 2014 40 hours per year
15-19 employees Unpaid leave beginning April 1, 2014 40 hours per year
Paid leave beginning October 1, 2015
Fewer than 15 Unpaid beginning April 1, 2014 40 hours per year
Part Time Employees will accumulate at a rate of 1 hour per 30 worked, so a 20 hour/week employee would get 4.33 days per year.
Sick time MUST be carried over to the following year UNLESS 2 conditions are met. These conditions are
1) You pay the employee for any unused sick time at the end of the year, AND
2) You provide the employee with the minimum requirement (above) on January 1.
You may use existing time you provide the employees already if you allow them to use any time off as sick time. The simplest approach to this is to combine all days off (vacation, religious, sick, and personal) into one category called Paid Time Off (PTO), and allow them to carry at least the minimum of 5 days over.
You are not required to pay out unused time on termination, but you must reinstate time off for anyone rehired within 6 months.
GOING FORWARD: Similar regulations exist for the entire state of Connecticut, Portland OR, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. Similar regulations are on the legislative docket in numerous states, so this would be a good time, as you make changes to comply with Health Care Reform at the end of the year, to include these types of regulations in your employee policies and manual.