‘Paid Sick Leave Day’ On Wednesday Brings Awareness to More Than One Million Workers About New Earned Sick Leave Rights

Nearly 1,500 volunteers, City Council members, and other elected officials canvassed New York City’s major subway stations on Wednesday to tell more than one million covered employees to get ready for July 30, the first day earned paid sick leave can be used.

Councilman Andy King and crew at the Gun Hill Road 2 5 Station. Photo via Facebook (New York City Council Member Andy L. King)

This outreach effort is the first of its kind organized by a City agency and involves 1,400 business owners and leaders, community organizations, workers, unions, City employees, and everyday New Yorkers talking to their friends and neighbors at 150 subways stops and other locations around the city.  Pelham Bay Station and Parkchester Station were two hot spots in the East Bronx where hundreds got some of the basics (but if you didn’t encounter Mr. Goldstein or Assemblyman Sepulveda, shown below, or any of the other volunteers, you’ll find we have all the particulars covered for you here.  Keep reading!)
The paid sick leave law, which went into effect April 1, 2014, covers most employees who work more than 80 hours a year in New York City, including full-time employees, part-time employees, temporary employees, transitional jobs program employees, and undocumented employees. These employees are able to accrue up to 40 hours of earned sick leave each year. Employers must allow all covered employees to begin using accrued paid sick leave on July 30, 2014.

“I am grateful to all New Yorkers who came out today in support of paid sick leave. They know its importance and want their neighbors to take advantage of it. The new law gives most workers the right to take care of themselves or a sick family member without fear of losing their job—and ensures that our City’s workforce will be healthier and stronger for years to come,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I also want to thank the City Council, including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, as well as the hardworking community leaders and activists who worked tirelessly to make this law—and the important community conversation today—a reality in New York City.”

Assembylman Luis Sepulveda at the Parkchester Train Station promoting Paid Sick Leave. Photo via Facebook.

“Paid Sick Leave Day is about telling New Yorkers to get ready for healthier workers, healthier businesses, healthier families, and a healthier city. We have 1,400 volunteers on the ground from all different walks of life, educating people about the importance of July 30. Thanks to the leadership of Mayor de Blasio and the City Council, this historic law will now guarantee one million New Yorker City workers access to paid sick leave,” said DCA Commissioner Julie Menin.

PaidSick1“Giving workers the opportunity to accrue and use paid sick leave means a healthier and more productive workforce in New York City, and I’m proud of the City Council’s role in making this a reality,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I’m also thrilled to see that so many of my colleagues from the Council are committed to spreading the word about this new policy in their own communities today by speaking directly to their constituents about the new opportunities being offered. I thank my colleagues and the de Blasio administration for their tireless work to make New York City a better place for our workers, our businesses, and all of our residents.”

DCA’s paid sick leave campaign includes advertisements in the city’s subway cars, stations, and buses. The campaign will continue through July and into the summer with advertisements on television, radio, online and in daily, community, and foreign language newspapers, as well as training events, webinars and other outreach activities for working New Yorkers, businesses, and families.

DCA’s paid sick leave campaign has reached out to more than 400,000 small businesses and thousands of workers at more than 150 town hall meetings and events throughout the five boroughs. The agency also advertised on subways and buses, as well as translated informational material into 25 languages, going well beyond the City’s Executive Order languages. Through September, DCA will intensify its activities through television and radio ads, and community and ethnic newspapers. The City will continue to expand community outreach efforts through partnerships and targeted educational and outreach for workers and businesses.

Under the law, employers with five or more employees who are hired to work more than 80 hours per calendar year in New York City must provide paid sick leave. Employers with fewer than five employees must provide unpaid sick leave. No employer can retaliate against a worker for requesting and using sick leave or for filing a complaint for alleged violations of the law with DCA. Retaliation includes any threat, discipline, firing, demotion, suspension or reduction in hours or pay. The accrual rate is one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours of sick leave per calendar year. Accrual began April 1, 2014, or on an employee’s first day of employment, whichever came later. An employer can require documentation from the employee’s licensed health care provider if more than three consecutive workdays are taken as sick leave. Up to 40 hours can be carried over to the next calendar year; however, only 40 hours per calendar year may be used.

Employers and employees can visit nyc.gov/PaidSickLeave or call 311 (212-NEW-YORK outside NYC) for more information, including upcoming events and webinars, the required Notice of Employee Rights, one-page overviews for employers and employeesFAQs, DCA’s paid sick leave training presentation in multiple languages, the complaint form, andlegal interpretations. New Yorkers can also follow DCA on Twitter,  Facebook, YouTube and Instagram using the hashtag #paidsickleave, and employers can ask questions online on DCA’s Live Chat for Business platform Monday – Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Employers must provide the paid sick leave notice to employees in English and, if available on the DCA website, their primary language. The one-page overviews for employers and employees and Notice of Employee Rights are now available in 25 languages: English, Spanish, Chinese (traditional), French Creole (Haitian Kreyol), Italian, Korean, Russian (already available), as well as Chinese (simplified), Bengali, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Polish, Yiddish, French, Urdu, German, Portuguese, Albanian, Serbian, Croatian, Tagalog, Greek, Punjabi (Gurmukhi), Japanese, and Yoruba.

To recap: Key Facts about New York City’s Paid Sick Leave Law:

New York City’s new paid sick leave law is now in effect.

If you work in New York City for more than 80 hours a year, you can:

  • Earn up to 40 hours of sick leave each year to care for yourself or a family member.
  • Start using earning leave on July 30, 2014.

If you are an employer, including a not-for-profit or small business, you must provide:

  • Paid sick leave, if you have five or more employees who work in New York City; or unpaid sick leave, if you have fewer than five employees.
  • Two days of paid sick leave to domestic workers who have worked for you for more than one year. This leave is in addition to the three days of paid rest to which domestic workers are entitled under New York State Labor Law.
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