Mayor de Blasio and Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that the Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law is now in effect. The law allows employees to use their paid leave if they or a family member have been the victim of any act or threat of domestic violence, unwanted sexual contact, stalking, or human trafficking in order to plan their next steps and focus on safety without fear of penalty.
New York City is the first city in the nation to pass paid safe leave legislation that includes survivors of human trafficking. The amended law also expands the definition of family for whom safe and sick leave can be used to any individual whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of family.
“The Paid Sick and Safe Leave law sends a clear message to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking – New York City stands with you,” said Mayor de Blasio. “The City is stepping up to ensure that vulnerable individuals are able to access the care they need without jeopardizing their livelihood.”
“Survivors should never have to choose between their paycheck or the safety of themselves and children. Paid Safe Leave gives survivors in NYC the opportunity to take the time they need to stabilize their lives without worrying about losing their job,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, Co-Chair of the Commission on Gender Equity and the Domestic Violence Task Force.
“I am proud to support the expansion of such a crucial workplace law that allows New Yorkers the right to paid leave to care for themselves or their loved ones, without fear of retaliation from their employer,” said DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “Safe Leave sends a clear message to New York City’s workforce – the very backbone of our great city – that we support your physical, psychological, economic health and safety and will continue to fight for your rights. I encourage all workers and employers to visit our website or to call 311 to request information about the Paid Safe and Sick Law.”
Under the new law, employees can take time off to restore their physical, psychological, and economic health or that of a family member. For example, individuals can take time off to:
· Obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other services program
· Participate in safety planning, relocate, enroll a child in a new school or take other actions to protect their safety or that of their family members
· Meet with an attorney or social service provider to obtain information and advice related to custody; visitation; matrimonial issues; orders of protection; immigration; housing; and discrimination in employment, housing, or consumer credit
· File a domestic incident report with law enforcement or meet with a district attorney’s office
“This is an important expansion of paid sick leave that will protect victims of domestic violence and other serious crimes. I thank Mayor de Blasio for implementing this groundbreaking law, as well as former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and former Councilmember Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, whose strong advocacy made this legislation a reality,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
Under New York City’s Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, employers with five or more employees who work more than 80 hours per calendar year in New York City must provide paid safe and sick leave to employees. Employers with fewer than five employees must provide unpaid safe and sick leave. Accrual of safe and sick leave is at a rate of one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per calendar year, and begins on employee’s first day of employment. Employees can begin using accrued leave 120 days after their first day of work. For those employers who do not frontload safe and sick leave on the first day of a new calendar year, employees must be permitted to carry over up to 40 hours of unused safe and sick leave from one calendar year to the new calendar year.
All covered employers are required to provide their employees with the new Notice of Employee of Rights that includes information about safe leave in English and, if available on the DCA website, the employee’s primary language. Employers must provide the notice on the first day of an employee’s employment, or by , whichever is later.