New York City Safe Time Act

On November 6, 2017, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (ESSTA) which amends Chapter 8 of Title 20 to the New York City Administrative Code. On May 5, 2018, the new law will take effect that affords leave time to victims and to the family members of victims of family offenses, sexual offenses, stalking, and human trafficking.

Under the ESSTA, employers with five or more employees must provide an employee with one hour of safe/sick time for every thirty hours worked. However, an employer is not required to provide an employee with more than forty hours of safe/sick time in one calendar year.

A victim or their family member is entitled to use the safe time for the following:

  • To get assistance from a domestic violence or rape center, a shelter or relief program;
  • To relocate, plan to increase safety measures or any other measure to increase their own or a family members safety;
  • To meet with an attorney or service provider to get information or advice on a myriad of issues;
  • To participate in any proceedings;
  • To file a report with law enforcement;
  • To meet with an ADA;
  • To sign children up for school; and
  • Anything relating to maintaining, improving, or restoring their physical, psychological, or economic health or safety.

An employer is entitled to request documentation for more than three consecutive workdays for reasons relating to safe time. Under the ESSTA reasonable documentation includes a signed document by the following:

  • Employee or volunteer at an agency;
  • Attorney;
  • Clergy;
  • Medical or professional service provider;
  • Police report;
  • Court record; or
  • Notarized letter from the employee expressing the need for safe leave time.

An employer is prohibited from requesting or requiring that the documentation indicate details regarding the issue. An employer must give notice to their employees of his or her right to safe leave time within thirty days of the amendment’s effective date, which is May 5, 2018.

If you have concerns regarding employment law issues, contact the New York employment law attorney Steven Mitchell Sack to protect your rights. Call Steven Mitchell Sack, “The Employee’s Lawyer,” at (917) 371-8000 or email him at

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