The NY Working Woman's Pocket Guide

Earned Safe & Sick Time

Getting the flu should not spell financial disaster for your household. If you work in New York City, you can take paid time off to care for yourself or your ill or injured family members.

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Am I covered?

If you work in New York City (and don’t work for the government), you are probably covered for earned sick time, whether you are a full-time, part-time, or temporary worker.

What does it mean to “earn” sick time and how much earned sick time can I take?

You have the right to earn 1 hour for every 30 hours worked.

The amount of sick time that you can use depends on the size of your employer. If your employer has 99 or fewer workers, you can use up to 40 hours per year. If your employer has 100 or more workers, you can use up to 56 hours per year.

You begin earning sick time immediately, and you can use it as soon as it’s earned.

What can I use earned sick time for?

You can use earned sick time when you or a family member are sick, injured, or getting medical treatment, including mental health or preventive care.

You can also use this time to:

  • Address non-medical needs, including legal and housing needs when you or your family member are affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking.
  • Care for chosen family (i.e. people with whom you have a relationship that is equivalent to a family relationship, whether or not you have a biological or legal relationship to them).

You may also have a right under a separate law to receive two additional job-protected days off for the same and certain additional purposes as listed above. See the Fair Scheduling section for more information.

How much of my paycheck can I get while I use earned sick time?

If you work for an employer with five or more workers, your employer must pay you your full wages during the time off. If your employer has fewer than five workers and a net income of less than $1 million in the last tax year, your sick time may be unpaid—but you can’t be fired or punished for taking it. If you are a domestic worker and do not work for an agency, your time must be paid, regardless of how many employees your employer has.

What if my employer tries to punish me for using earned sick time?

It is illegal for your employer to punish or retaliate against you in any way for using your earned sick time or exercising any of your rights under the law. This means you can’t be fired, demoted, written-up, have your hours reduced, or have any other action taken against you that punishes you for using your rights.

A couple additional notes:

  • These laws apply to you regardless of your immigration or citizenship status.
  • The information listed in this section does not constitute legal advice. It is always advisable to consult with an attorney about your individual circumstances if you have questions or think your rights as a worker have been violated. 
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