NYC's New Paid Safe and Sick Leave FAQs Require Most Employers to Update Their Safe and Sick Leave Policies


New York City's Paid Sick Leave law was amended, effective May 5, 2018, to include safe leave. The amendment expanded the City's paid sick leave law to allow employees to take paid time off for themselves or a family member in connection with domestic violence, sexual offenses, stalking, or human trafficking matters. The amendment also renamed the law the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law.

 The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), which enforces the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, recently published Frequently Asked Questionsabout the law's new rules. While most of the changes to the FAQs are cosmetic, there are some substantive ones that will most likely require employers to update their sick and safe leave policies.

 Notice Requirements

 Employers in NYC must distribute written safe and sick leave policies personally when an employee begins employment, within 14 days of a policy change, and upon an employee's request. Sick and safe leave information must be in the same policy. 

 The FAQs expressly state that providing an employee with the Notice of Employee Rights does not satisfy this obligation, which serves as a reminder that all employers should implement and update employee handbooks.

 Policy Requirements

 The FAQs also expand upon the information that must be included in an employer's written safe and sick leave policy. The policy must now include the following:

  • An explanation of the consequences of an employee failing to provide the employer with required documentation concerning safe/sick leave (when such documentation is permitted).

  • A statement that the employer cannot request personal health information or the details of the matter requiring safe leave, in connection with requests for paid sick or safe leave.

  • A statement that the employer must keep confidential any information it obtains about an employee or employee's family member in connection with sick or leave.

 NYC's Paid Safe and Sick Leave law carries penalties of up to $1,000 per violation. In addition to administrative penalties for non-compliance, employers that violate that law are potentially liable for treble damages. Employers in NYC should, therefore, be proactive and seek legal counsel to ensure their compliance with the requirements of the law.

 If you have questions about your business's Paid Safe and Sick Leave policies or obligations, please contact us at (646) 503-5358 or through our online calendar to schedule a complimentary consultation.