New York City
The rulesthatapply to the workplace are swiftlychang- ing in New York City, which is at the forefront on several issues. Sick leave. Many states and localities have sick-leave laws, but New York City’s Earned Sick Time Act is well
ahead of the curve, says Jill Cohen, an attorney with Eckert Seamans in Princeton, N.J., who practices in New York as well as
An eligible employee in New York City may take paid leave:
• To care for his or her own mental or physical illness, injury
or health condition, or to seek a medical diagnosis, treatment or
preventive medical care.
• To assist a family member who needs a medical diagnosis,
treatment or preventive medical care.
• To look after a child whose school or child care provider is
ordered closed because of a public health emergency.
• In the event the employee’s place of business is closed due to a
public health emergency.
All companies in New York City that employ five or more
individuals must comply with this law. Workers earn one hour
of paid time for every 30 hours of work, and the use and accrual
of this leave is capped at 40 hours per year.
Companies that don’t want to allow workers to carry time
over can pay out the earned and unused sick leave at the end of
the year, Cohen notes.
The New York City sick-leave statute defines “family
member” more broadly than other city and state laws.
A family member can be:
■ ■ A spouse.
■ ■ A domestic partner.
■ ■ The parent of an employee or the parent of a worker’s spouse or domestic partner.
■ ■ The child of an employee or the child of a worker’s
spouse or domestic partner, including legal wards and
biological, adopted, and foster children or stepchildren.
■ ■ A sibling, including biological, adopted, and half-siblings or stepsiblings.
■ ■ A grandparent.
■ ■ A grandchild.
Family leave. On the state level, New York has enacted paid-family-leave legislation that takes effect Jan. 1, 2018. California,
New Jersey and Rhode Island have similar laws on the books.
And as of 2020, Washington, D.C., will require paid family leave
Discrimination. The nation’s most populous city also main-
tains some of the most expansive anti-discrimination legislation
in the country, says Daniel Schlein, an attorney in New York City.
The Ne w York City Human Rights Law protects more categories
of people than its federal counterparts, including Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The local statute applies to employers with four or more
employees—which is lower than Title VII’s 15-worker threshold.
In addition, unlike the federal civil rights act, the city’s measure
has no cap on compensatory and punitive damages.
The local ordinance does not require harassment to be severe
and pervasive to be actionable, and it contains very broad obli-
gations to accommodate religious beliefs and pregnancy, note
Richard Greenberg, an attorney with Jackson Le wis in New York
City, and Michelle Phillips, an attorney with Jackson Lewis in
White Plains, N. Y.
Washington, D.C., “is a great city and has much to offer employers,” notes Daniel Pry wes, an attorney with Morris, Manning & Martin in Washington, D.C.
“However, employers should avoid unpleasant surprises
by making sure that they understand all the ways that laws in
the district are more generous to employees than federal statutes and the rules of other jurisdictions.”
Paid leave. In particular, be aware of the new 0.62 percent
payroll tax—starting in 2019—that will fund Washington,
D.C.’s paid-leave program, Prywes says.
Washington, D.C.’s Family and Medical Leave
Act (DCFMLA) differs in several regards from
the federal Family and Medical Leave Act
(FMLA), according to Jim Murphy, an attorney
with Ogletree Deakins in Washington, D.C.
That can make compliance tricky for HR professionals. Here’s a brief comparison of the