New York City Workers Can Take Advantage of Enhanced Sick Leave Rights

April 16, 2024
New York City Workers Can Take Advantage of Enhanced Sick Leave Rights

New York City workers should be aware of Int. 0523-2022 that was enacted in January 2024. The new piece of legislation amended the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (codified in New York City Administrative Code, Title 20: Consumer and Worker Protection, Chapter 8: Earned Safe and Sick Time Act), which originally took effect ten (10) years ago in 2014. With the amendment, employees now have both enhanced protections, and the ability to directly seek legal action over sick leave disputes. Employees can now initiate a private lawsuit against their employers if they find discrepancies in their sick leave policy that differ from what is legally required. This alters the previous system, which required affected employees to first submit claims through the New York City’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection. Employees can take advantage of their rights by enlisting a qualified New York City employee labor lawyer to walk them through the new laws.

The 2024 Amendment Incentivizes Legal Action for Sick Leave Violations

Prior to the 2024 amendment of the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act, employees facing issues with sick leave had to navigate the bureaucratic channels of the New York City’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection. With the addition of the 2024 amendment, workers can now bypass these lengthy processes and directly take their disputes to court.

Under the updated sick leave laws, employees can now directly sue their employers for not providing them with the mandatory sick leave as required by law. The new law will alter allowable civil penalties so that they are now “on a per employee and per instance basis”.

Potential damages that an employee can recover include:

  • The greater of Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250) or three times (3x) your unpaid wages for each incident where sick leave is unlawfully denied.
  • Five Hundred Dollars ($500) penalty for each instance of unlawful denial.
  • Compensation for lost wages and benefits, ranging from Five Hundred Dollars ($500) to Two Thousand, Five Hundred Dollars ($2,500).

Successful claimants may also recover attorney’s fees, which will encourage legal action against non-compliant employers.

Speak with the Lawyers at Brown, LLC Today!

Over 100 million in judgments and settlements trials in state and federal courts. We fight for maximum damage and results.

Employee Rights Under the New York Sick Leave Laws

The Earned Safe and Sick Time Act outlines your sick leave entitlements based on your employer’s size:

  1. One Hundred (100) or more employees: Fifty-Six (56) hours of paid safe and sick leave each year.
  2. Five (5) to Ninety-Nine (99) employees: Forty (40) hours of paid sick leave each year.
  3. Four (4) or fewer employees (with over $1 million net income): Forty (40) hours of paid sick leave each year.
  4. Four (4) or fewer employees (with less than $1 million net income): Forty (40) hours of unpaid sick leave each year.

Additionally, your employer must provide the Notice of Employee Rights at the start of employment or at any point your rights change. This notice should be in English as well as your primary language if applicable.

New Public Reporting Requirements Under the Amendment

The newly added amendment also introduces a new reporting requirement for the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection to enhance transparency and accountability so employees will feel confident to bring their claims forward. The Department of Consumer and Worker must publish an annual report on its website detailing its enforcement of the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act. The report will include the number and types of complaints received, and specify both the complaints and the notices of violations issued. It will also cover the number of civil actions filed, provided the DCWP is made aware of these actions, along with the tally of investigations initiated and concluded within the respective year. The report must also list the average amount of time it takes for the DCWP to resolve a complaint, which should offer a clear view of the efficiency in the enforcement process.

Enlist a Labor Lawyer to Take Advantage of Enhanced Rights for Employees

If you believe your sick leave rights have been violated, consider consulting with an employment labor attorney who can guide you through the legal process to ensure your rights are protected. Employee labor law firms have in-depth knowledge of the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act, including the nuances of the new amendment and how previous cases have fared when brought in litigation. An Employee Labor Lawyer will review your employer’s sick leave policy to see how it aligns with legal requirements. They will also review your evidence to provide an objective evaluation of your claim so that you can have a robust strategy for pursuing legal action against your employer. An Employee Labor Lawyer will also be knowledgeable of any protections the law affords you in case your employer retaliates against you for bringing your claim.