Will NYC Add Personal Time and Expand Employee Protections?
The NYC Council is considering expanding ESSTA to include paid “personal time” for employees. Employees could use personal time for any reason. In addition, the employee would not have to document the reason for extended paid time off work.
If Passed, What Are the Provisions of the New Bill?
According to the National Law Review, employees and non-agency employed domestic workers, who work more than 80 hours in a calendar year, are eligible. They could earn one hour of personal time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 80 hours per year. Currently, ESSTA provides eligible employees with sick and safety time. Personal time would be additional.
An employer could count the unused 80 hours from a previous year for the current year, establishing the maximum time as already earned. However, additional time would not keep accruing year after year. ESSTA applies to employers with five or more employees, and the personal time would apply to employers of this size as well. The exception would be domestic workers who would be entitled to be paid for personal time for any size of employer.
What Employers Would Remain Unaffected by Personal Time?
Employers who already provide paid vacation or other paid time off would not have to pay for personal time. The only requirement is that the paid time off could be used in the same way and under the same conditions as personal time as covered by the new law.
Employees Would Have Expanded ESSTA Protections for Leave Use
Currently ESSTA allows employers to restrict the use of earned time for up to 120 days. However, under the new bill, employers could only restrict use for up to 90 days after the employee began employment.
Employees would have expanded protection against retaliation. To prove retaliation, employees would only have to show that the protected activity under ESSTA was a “motivating factor for adverse employment action.
Employers could receive penalties of up to $500 for each employee violation of the new law. All civil penalties could also apply on a per employee basis.
The NYC corporation counsel would have the right to investigate potential ESSTA violations and bring civil actions against employers to enforce the law.
Our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates will continue to stay abreast of further developments regarding this bill.