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Paid Sick Leave

On Thursday, June 27, 2013, the New York City Council overrode Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of the “Earned Sick Time Act” (Intro. 97-A). The legislation, which grants paid sick leave to over a million employees within New York City, was originally vetoed by the Mayor in June on the basis that it would increase costs to employers, especially small businesses.  Bloomberg’s veto message centered on concerns that city businesses would seek to offset the cost of compliance with layoffs or by reducing employees’ work hours. The new law takes effect April 1, 2014.

The final version of the legislation can be found here.

Beginning April 1, 2014 businesses with at least 20 employees will be required to provide to all employees five paid sick days. After October 1, 2015, the mandate will extend to businesses with at least 15 employees.  Manufacturing companies are exempt. The new requirements can be postponed if the city’s economy worsens, as measured by an index using the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Coincident Index, which examines monthly changes in New York's unemployment rate, average wages and weekly hours worked in the manufacturing sector).

Of interest to Con Edison are several key components:

Section 20-913(3.d.1) Right to sick time; accrual
- Provides that employees shall be entitled to begin using accrued sick time on the 120th day (4 month mark) of employment.  [This provision is shorter in length than the company’s current probationary period of 6 months.]

Section 20-914(3.c) Use of sick time
- Provides that for an absence of more than three consecutive work days, an employer may require reasonable documentation. [Preserves the right to ask for documentation for sick absences of three days or more.]

Section 20-914 (3.f) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit an employer from taking disciplinary action, up to and including termination, against a worker who uses sick time provided pursuant to this chapter for purposes other than those described in this section [preserves the right to discipline for using sick time for absences not sick-related.]

Section 20-916 Collective bargaining agreements
- Provides that the requirements will not apply to employees covered under a collective bargaining agreement where there is an express waiver in the agreement and the agreement provides comparable benefits.

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