On May 5, 2018, an amendment to the New York City Earned Sick Time Act will take effect, expanding the law to allow paid leave to be used by employees when they or their family members are victims of domestic violence matters (which include disorderly conduct, harassment, and other offenses), sexual offenses, stalking, and human trafficking. The amendment also expands the definition of “family member” under the Act. The law will now be known as the “Earned Sick and Safe Time Act” (the “Act”).  The city has specified what qualifies for the use of safe time;



• To obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other shelter or services program;


• To participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocate, or take other actions to increase the safety of the employee or employee’s family members from future family offense matters;


• To meet with an attorney or social worker to obtain information and advice on, or to participate in any criminal or civil proceeding related to family offense matters;


• To file a complaint or domestic incident report with law enforcement;


• To meet with a district attorney’s office;


• To enroll children in a new school; or


• To take any other actions necessary to maintain, improve, or restore the physical, psychological, or economic health or safety of the employee or the employee’s family member or to protect those who associate or work with the employee.



Prior to this change, covered family members included children, spouses, domestic partners, parents, siblings, grandchildren, grandparents, and the child or parent of a spouse or domestic partner. The amendment expands the definition of family member to include “any other individual related by blood to the employee” and “any other individual whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.’’



The amendment adds to the protections already in place for employees affected by domestic violence, including the New York State Human Rights Law’s prohibition on discrimination against victims of domestic violence and the New York City Human Rights Law’s requirement that employers provide reasonable accommodation to victims of domestic violence.



This amendment does not change the amount of paid or unpaid time off that the employers are required to provide.  It does permit the use of sick time for the above reasons in addition to what is already permitted by law.  Employers can request reasonable documentation from the employees at the request of safe time for three or more days.  Types of reasonable documentation is listed below;



• Documents signed by a victim services organization, an attorney, a member of clergy, or a medical or other professional services provider for whom the employee or his or her family member was treated


• Police or court records, or


• Notarized letters from the employee explaining his or her need for safe time, without detail



Any employees that are covered by a collective bargaining agreement that is effective when the amendments go into effect will then not apply until the CBA terminates.  Once it terminates or a new one is executed then the law will apply unless CBA-covered employees waive their right to the law’s requirements.  If the employees waive their right to the new amendments, then the CBA must provide a comparable benefit in the form of paid days off.



As with the existing New York City Earned Sick Time Act, employers must provide employees with written notice of their right to safe time. Employers must provide existing employees of their right to safe time by June 4, 2018.



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This information is provided as a courtesy, may change and is not intended as legal or tax guidance. Employers with questions or concerns outside the scope of a Payroll Service Provider are encouraged to seek the advice of a qualified CPA, Tax Attorney or Advisor.