New York City expands paid sick leave law to crime victims

On November 6, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation that expands current paid leave protections to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and trafficking survivors. Approved by the City Council on October 17, Int. 1313-A expands the Earned Sick Time Act to permit victims of family offense matters, such as disorderly conduct and harassment, sexual offenses (such as sexual misconduct, forcible touching and sexual abuse), stalking, and human trafficking to use earned “safe” hours in connection with that abuse. It also changes the name of the Act to the “Earned Sick and Safe Time Act.”
Under the previously named “Earned Sick Time Act,” employees of employers with five or more employees earn sick time of up to five days (40 hours), which can be used for various health-related purposes of the employees or their families. The Act, however, did not provide any protection for victims of domestic violence, sexual offenses, stalking, and other such offenses.
Int. 1313-A amends the Act to make earned sick time hours available for employees to obtain services from a domestic violence shelter or rape crisis center; participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocate; to meet with an attorney or other social service provider to obtain information and advice; or take other actions to ensure their own or a family member’s safety. The new law will make the nearly three million New Yorkers eligible for paid leave to attend to immediate safety needs without fear of penalty or loss of income.
Int. 1313-A is effective 180 days after becoming law, except that where employees are covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement in effect on that date, it takes effect on the date the agreement terminates. (City of New York, Office of the Mayor, Press Release, November 6, 2017, http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/716-17/paid-safe-leave-new-york-city-expands-paid-leave-domestic-violence-sexual-assault-stalking; New York City Council, Intro 1313-A, http://hr.cch.com/ELD/NYC-Int1313A.pdf.)

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