On May 5, 2018, NYC’s Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (the “ESSTA”) went into effect. It amends NYC’s Earned Sick Time Act by (a) permitting an employee to use accrued “sick leave” for “safe leave” and (b) expanding the definition of “family member.” Employers are required to provide notice to employees by June 4, 2018.
Under the ESSTA, employees have the right to use leave for the medical care of themselves or a family member, as well as the right to seek assistance or take other safety measures if the employee or a family member is a victim or has been threatened with domestic violence, “unwanted sexual contact”, stalking or human trafficking.
“Safe leave” includes absences to:
- Obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center or other similar program
- Participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocate for safety reasons or take other actions to increase the safety of the employee or family member
- Meet with a civil attorney or other social service provider to obtain information and advice on, and prepare for or participate in, any criminal or civil proceeding, including but not limited to matters related to a family offense matter, sexual offense, stalking, human trafficking, custody, visitation, matrimonial issues, orders of protection, immigration, housing, discrimination in employment, housing or consumer credit
- File a complaint or domestic incident report with law enforcement
- Meet with a district attorney’s office
- Enroll children in a new school; or
- Take other actions necessary to maintain, improve, or restore the physical, psychological, or economic health or safety of the employee or family member or to protect those who associate or work with the employee.
“Family member” is now defined as:
- A spouse, domestic partner, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or the child or parent of the employee’s spouse or domestic partner
- Any other individual related by blood to the employee
- Any other individual whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship
Employers with five (5) or more employees must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick/safe leave; all other employers must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick/safe leave.