NYC Employers Fined for Not Allowing Employees Sick Leave

In 2014, New York City Mayor de Blasio signed into effect the Earned Sick Time Act, and later approved further amendments that would offer employees greater protection by expanding the Act.  Recently, companies such as Best Buy and FedEx have been fined for not complying with the law that went into effect in April 2014.

Originally, the right to paid sick leave applied to businesses with 20 or more workers.  The new amendment decreased the amount of necessary workers to 15 as of (late) 2015, therefore including an estimated additional 355,000 employees. Also, certain economic benchmarks were used to implement paid sick leave, after the new amendments were passed, economic benchmarks are no longer an issue.  Additionally, another amendment provided that the definitions of family members were expanded to include grandparents, grandchildren and siblings; providing immediate coverage to employees who would otherwise have been “phased in”; and removed the exemptions that applied to the manufacturing sector.  In total, approximately 500,000 workers who did not previously have paid sick leave acquired it as a result of the new legislation.

FedEx was recently fined $33,600 for violations.  An employee complaint launched an investigation that revealed workers were denied sick leave between April 1, 2014 and December 7, 2014.  As a result, FedEx was required to credit sick leave to 165 employees and pay out $15,000 in restitution to another 30 employees.  In addition, other employers in New York such as Best Buy, American Girl Place, Primo Cappuccino, Lismir Cards and the East Harlem Council for Human Services have all been fined for noncompliance.

Many workers’ advocates celebrated the law’s expansion which prevents workers from having to choose between their jobs and their health, or the health of their family members.  Low wage workers no longer need to fear being fired as a result of taking a sick day.

If you feel you have been wrongly denied sick leave, contact an experienced employment attorney who will help ensure that your rights are protected.  Call Steven Mitchell Sack at (917) 371-8000.

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