Westchester County has enacted an Earned Sick Leave Law which will soon require Westchester employers to provide sick leave to its employees. Both full-time and part-time employees working more than 80 hours per year are eligible to earn sick time. The law, which was passed on October 1, will take effect 180 days from its adoption: March 30, 2019.The new Westchester law is very similar to New York City’s sick time law although without New York City’s latest expansion to cover time off for “safe leave.”
Westchester employers should review their paid time off policies to ensure compliance. Many may already provide greater than 40 hours of paid time off, but it’s still important for employers to review their policies and train supervisors on the new law.
The law requires employers to provide 40 hours of sick leave per year to eligible employees. You accrue one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Unused time can be carried over to the following year; however, the law only mandates that an employer provide 40 hours of sick time per year. There is also no requirement that unused time be paid out to the employee when their employment terminates.
Earned sick time can be used by the employee for the following reasons:
- Employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or health condition; need for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of such illness, injury, or health condition; or need for preventative medical care.
- To care for a family member (broadly defined under the law) for a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; need for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of such illness, injury, or health condition; or preventative medical care.
- Certain situations where the public health authorities have either determined that an employee or family member’s presence in the community may jeopardize the health of others or have closed the employer’s place of business.
The law also allows employers to meet requirements by providing 40 hours of combined sick and personal time. However, the employer must allow the employee to take the time as needed for sick time with no advance notice necessary and no additional restrictions.