Two laws recently passed by the New York City daily cialis cost Council mandate that employers provide sick leave to most employees. Here is an overview of what you should know about these laws and how they might affect your organization.
WHO IS AFFECTED?
All employers will feel some impact from the new laws. The effective compliance date and whether leave must be paid or unpaid depends on the number of employees:
- 20 or more employees (April 14, 2014 compliance deadline; paid leave)
- 5 more employees (October 1, 2014 compliance deadline; paid leave)
- 1-4 employees (October 1, 2014 compliance deadline; unpaid leave)
HOW IS LEAVE CALCULATED?
Under the laws, employees earn one hour title loans of leave for every 30 hours worked up to a maximum of 40 hours per calendar year.
DOES LEAVE CARRY OVER?
Up to 40 hours of earned leave must carry over from year to year; however, this provision includes two protections for employers:
- Employers may limit the amount of earned leave actually taken to 40 days per year.
- Employers are not obligated to pay out for untaken leave upon separation.
HOW IS “SICK LEAVE” DEFINED?
As written into the new NYC laws, “sick leave” is defined rather broadly. In addition to actual illness, sick leave may be taken for:
- Diagnostic and preventative care appointments
- Family member health needs, including diagnostic and preventative care appointments (“family member” is also defined broadly)
- Caring for a child whose place of care or school is closed due to a public health emergency
- Closure of the place of business due to a public health emergency
CAN EMPLOYERS IMPOSE REQUIREMENTS FOR TAKING SICK LEAVE?
Employers may impose certain requirements on employees using sick leave:
- Eligibility date: Employees are eligible to take sick leave beginning a maximum 120 days after their initial date of employment.
- Advance notice: Employers may require up to seven days notice if the need to use leave is foreseeable. If the need is unforeseeable, employers may ask for notice as soon as practicable.
- Documentation: Employers may require documentation from a licensed healthcare provider if an employee uses three or more consecutive days of leave.
Employers are expressly forbidden from:
- Requiring employees to seek or obtain shift coverage when they take leave.
- Asking for documentation of medical details/conditions.
IS EVERY EMPLOYEE COVERED?
The laws specifically exclude certain categories of employee, including:
- Those who work fewer than 80 hours per year in New York City.
- Students in federal work study programs.
- Participants in work experience programs.
- Certain employees subject to collective bargaining.
WHAT IF WE ALREADY HAVE A SICK LEAVE POLICY?
Provided your sick leave policy meets the minimum requirements set forth in the laws, you are fine. However, there are a few thingsto watch out for:
- The NYC laws are based on hours; many sick leave policies are based on days.
- Many employers have gone to a unified “paid time off” (PTO) system that does not distinguish between sick leave and other types of leave. This could make it problematic to demonstrate compliance with the laws.
- Employers whose policies allow for payout of unused PTO at termination may wish to examine their policies to make sure that the 40 hour requirement of the new laws does not impose undue liabilities.
WHAT DO EMPLOYERS NEED TO DO?
- Provide written notice. All employees must be provided with notice of the sick leave policy upon employment. Larger employers are also required to post the notice prominently in the workplace. The notice must also detail the process for filing complaints.
- Develop a record-keeping system. You will need to determine a way to track leave time earned, leave time used and eligibility dates. Most reputable payroll companies should be able to help you with this; many will track the informattion automatically.
- Evaluate your written employee policies. If you have an employee handbook or other policy documents for employees, you will want to be certain that they reflect compliance with these laws. If you operate in more than one location, you may also wish to evaluate whether to implement the new sick leave policies enterprise-wide or only for New York City-based employees.
WHAT IF WE DON’T COMPLY?
The new laws are being enforced by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”). DCA is empowered to levy various types of penalty when an employee complaint is found to be valid or an employer is shown not to keep accurate records. In some cases, the remedy imposed by DCA may include an order to reinstate an employee terminated for reasons associated with the sick leave policy.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The New York City sick leave laws reflect a growing trend in U.S. localities; employers should expect to see similar laws in other places within the next several years. With proper advance planning, these new mandates can be handled cost-effectively and with minimal disruptions. Contact your AKM CPA if you have any questions or would like some assistance in planning.