The New York City Council has been busy and as part of its recent session recently introduced legislation that, if passed, would allow employees to file lawsuits against employers for violations of the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (the “Act”). The current version of the Act only permits employees to file a complaint with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (the “DCA”). That could soon change.
The Act requires all employers in New York City to provide safe and sick leave of some sort. Those with four or fewer employee and net income of less than $1 million, must provide 40 hours of unpaid leave per year, with those above $1 million required to provide that amount of paid leave. Moreover, those with between five and 99 employees (or one domestic worker), must provide 40 hours of paid safe and sick leave, and those with 100 or more employees must provide 56 hours of paid safe and sick leave. Safe and sick leave may be taken by an employee to care for themselves or a family member, and also to take time off to obtain services in connection with domestic violence and other issues related to various family and personal matters.
As employers know, there are challenges to administering the Act, and some aspects that are rife with potential liability. This proposed law, if passed, will increase those risks by opening employers up to having to defend against civil actions in court. Employees would no longer be required to file a complaint with the DCA, and could simply file a complaint with a court of competent jurisdiction to pursue compensatory damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys fees and costs, among other things, from their employer.
This law has not yet been moved out of committee but we will keep a close eye on developments as they happen and will issue further guidance to our clients as needed. For any questions, please contact Mattiace Tetro LLC.