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 and use up to 40 hours of earned sick time per year.

You will earn 1 hour for every 30 hours worked.

While you begin earning sick time immediately, you can only begin using your earned sick time after being employed for 120 days.

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 you work for an employer with fewer than five workers, your sick time will be unpaid, but you can’t be fired or punished for taking it.

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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