Recently, New York City’s landmark paid sick time law, the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (ESSTA), was amended so that workers have even more rights under the law. A Better Balance was proud to help draft and negotiate the law when it originally passed in 2013, and we were proud to have helped improve the law—including testifying before the New York City Council—through these recent amendments. The changes in NYC’s ESSTA reflect necessary updates to align with New York State’s sick time law, which will provide workers throughout the state with sick time they can use starting January 1, 2021 but also contains many additional helpful clarifications that will help workers throughout New York City.
The following changes to ESSTA are effective immediately:
- Covered workers can now begin to use their earned sick time as it’s accrued as soon as they start working for their employer—there is no longer a 120-day waiting period.
- Critical changes in paid sick time’s application to domestic workers were made. The complicated structure of entitlement to sick time for domestic workers has been replaced and domestic workers will now earn sick time at 1 hour for every 30 hours worked beginning when they start their employment, and can use up to 40 hours of sick time per year as it is accrued —the same as other covered workers. As before, although workers for employers with fewer than five employees are generally only entitled to unpaid sick time, domestic workers are entitled to paid sick time regardless of the size of their employer.
- Now, when employers request a doctor’s note after a worker has used sick time for more than 3 consecutive days, they must reimburse the employee for any fees that their health care provider charges to provide documentation.
- Employers must provide notice of the amount of sick leave accrued and used during each pay period as well as the balance of paid sick time remaining on a pay stub or other written documentation each pay period.
And beginning January 1, 2021:
- ESSTA will require that employers with fewer than 5 employees and an income of $1 million or more in the previous tax year pay their workers for their sick time; and
- Workers with large employers (employers with 100 or more employees), will be able to use up to 56 hours of paid sick time per year. As is currently the case, workers with smaller employers will be able to use up to 40 hours of sick time.