Paid Sick Leave Begins This Week

Staff Writer

Keep that cough at home, New York.

Starting yesterday, New Yorkers can use the paid sick leave they have accrued under the newly expanded Earned Sick Time Act.

Per the law, employees who work more than 80 hours in one year can earn up to 40 hours of sick leave annually to care for themselves or family members.

Employers with at least five employees must provide paid sick leave, and employers with less than five employees must provide unpaid sick leave. Employers must also give two days of paid sick leave to domestic workers after one year of service – these two days are in addition to the three days of paid rest domestic workers receive under the State Labor Law.

“Paid sick leave is a workers’ rights issue and health issue. No one should go to work sick because they fear losing their job,” Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) said in a statement released on the day of action.

The City Council approved the law March, and it took effect in April. Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) was one of five councilmembers who voted against the bill.

Explaining his vote at the hearing, Vallone said he was concerned about the burden the expanded law would place on small businesses.

“The continued cries of our small businesses for more support and reduction in the already exhausting fines and regulations that burden them must be heard,” Vallone said.

Paid sick leave applies to full and part time employees, undocumented employees and employees who live outside of New York City. Coverage does not extend to employees of government agencies, Work Experience Program participants, or students in federal work study programs, among others.

Employees and employers with questions about paid sick leave can also call 311 or visit

Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, or @JNStrawbridge.