New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an amendment to the New York City Earned Sick Time Act that will become effective April 1, 2014 and will require covered employers to provide 40 hours of paid (or unpaid sick if less than 5 employees) leave per year to NYC employees.

Sick time must accrue at least at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours (5 days) per calendar year.  The rules for accrual do in fact differ for exempt and non-exempt employees.  Employers are to assume that exempt employees work 40 hours per week for accrual purposes, unless the worker typically works less than 40 hours.  For non-exempt employees, they accrue time based on the hours they work.

In addition for using the Sick Time for their own health, employees can also use paid sick time: to care for the employee’s “family member” who is ill or who needs preventative care.

The Act requires employers to give employees notice of their rights under the act, including the right to file a complaint with the department.

Employers should review their policies and practices to ensure that they are compliant in terms of not only offering the paid days, but also checking that their accrual rate is compliant.  Employers can be subject to liability if they retaliate against an employee who exercises their right under the act.  Employers may also be subject to penalties for every time they fail to pay an employee sick time, deny requested sick time, or otherwise violate the Act.