New york City Sick Leave law in effect

The law requires employers with more than 5 employees or more to give 40 hours of paid time off for employees to use as sick time – for themselves or their Family members.  The danger here is the definition of family member:

From the NY Law journal:

“Employee Use of Sick Time

Current employees may start using sick time on July 30, 2014. Employees hired after April 1, 2014, may begin to use it after four months of employment.

The act requires employers to pay employees if they are absent for reasons that go beyond the employee’s illness. Employees can also use paid sick time: (1) for preventative care; (2) if the employer is closed for a public health emergency; (3) to care for a child whose school or day care is closed for a public health emergency; and/or, (4) to care for the employee’s “family member” who is ill or who needs preventative care.

In the act’s original form, “family member” meant an employee’s spouse, domestic partner or parent, or the child or parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner. Under the revised act, “family member” was broadened to include an employee’s sibling, grandchild and grandparent. Id. §20-912(h). “Sibling” includes half-siblings, step-siblings and siblings related through adoption. Id. §20-912(v).

Employees can determine when and how to use sick time, subject to certain limitations. First, where the need for leave is foreseeable, employers may require advance notice of up to seven days. For unforeseeable absences, employers may only require notice “as soon as practicable.” Id. §20-914(b). Second, employers may set a minimum increment of sick time to be used, as long as the increment is four hours or less. Employers should require the maximum increment (of four hours) so employees cannot claim “paid sick time” every time they are a few minutes late.”

The Employers rights to documentation has changed also.  For the NY Law jounral again;



Many employers require employees to produce a doctor’s note in order to be eligible for sick pay. This requirement may run afoul of the act.

For absences of fewer than three consecutive work days, employers may only request “written confirmation that an employee used sick time pursuant to [the act].” Id. §20-914(d). Presumably, as the statute is worded, a note or text from the employee “confirming” that he was out for a permissible reason would be sufficient.

An employer can only require medical documentation after an employee has been absent for more than three consecutive work days. Such documentation can be signed by a “licensed health care provider” (i.e., a doctor, nurse or emergency room personnel) and may only indicate “the need for the amount of sick time taken.” Id. §20-914(c). Employers cannot require that the documentation “specify the nature of the employee’s or the employee’s family member’s injury, illness or condition, except as required by law.” Id. (emphasis supplied). Presumably, to the extent applicable, employers can require information about the “nature” of the condition under other statutes, like the Americans with Disabilities Act and/or the Family and Medical Leave Act.