On May 3, 2019, Westchester County, New York has enacted a new ordinance, the “Safe Time Leave Law,” that will become effective October 30, 2019. Under the new paid safe time law, covered employees do not accrue leave based on hours worked as they do under the paid sick leave ordinance. Employees are entitled to take a specific amount of protected paid leave. This is in addition to the Paid Sick Leave requirement that became effective on April 10, 2019.
Covered Employees: This ordinance will apply to employees who are employed in the county for more than 90 days in a calendar year on a full-time or part-time basis.
Hours Awarded: The Safe Time Leave Law allows eligible employees who are victims of domestic violence (including family offense matters) or human trafficking to use up to 40 hours of paid safe time in a 12-month benefit period to attend or testify in criminal or civil court proceedings related to domestic violence or human trafficking; or move to a safe location.
Unlike the paid sick leave ordinance, the paid safe time law does not allow employers to set a minimum increment of use, so employees determine how much leave they will use for a covered absence.
Recordkeeping Requirements: An employee must make a request verbally, in writing, via electronic means, or by any other means acceptable to an employer. If possible, the request should include the employee’s expected duration of time off. When the need for leave is foreseeable, an employee must make a good-faith effort to provide notice in advance and, when possible, schedule the absence so it does not unduly disrupt the employer’s operations.
An employer may require an employee to provide reasonable documentation that leave was used for a covered purpose, which can include any of the following:
• a court appearance ticket or subpoena;
• a copy of a police report;
• an affidavit from an attorney involved in the court proceeding; or
• an affidavit from an authorized person from a reputable organization known to provide assistance to victims of domestic violence and victims of human trafficking.
Employers have a requirement to keep confidential the information they receive unless the employee provides written permission to disclose the information or a law requires disclosure. Also, employers must keep health or safety information on a separate form in a separate file from other personnel information.
Notice Requirements: Employers must provide employees with a copy of the law and written notice of how it applies to them within 90 days of the law’s effective date or at the time of hire. Additionally, at the time the law goes into effect, employers must conspicuously display a copy of the law and a poster in English, Spanish, and any other language the county deems appropriate.
Next Steps: We are monitoring this ordinance closely and will provide more information as it is released.
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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.