|May 9, 2013|
Previously published on May 8, 2013
Mandatory Sick Leave Coming to New York City
Businesses with 20 or more employees will be required to provide paid sick time to their workers, if legislation before the New York City Council is passed. Although Mayor Bloomberg is expected to veto the bill, the City Council likely will override his veto.
Currently, businesses in New York are not required to offer paid time off. The proposed legislation would require businesses with 20 or more employees to provide up to five paid sick days per year beginning in April 2014. Beginning in October 2015, businesses with 15 or more employees would have the same requirement. Separately, businesses with fewer than 20 employees will need to provide five unpaid sick days per year, meaning employees could not be terminated for taking this time off to care for themselves or a family member.
Accruing paid time off
Eligible employees will accrue sick leave at the rate of one hour of leave for every 30 hours of work, beginning at an employee’s date of hire or on the date the law becomes effective, whichever is later. However, employees will not be permitted to take sick leave until they have been employed for four months.
At the end of each calendar year, the employer may either pay out any accrued, unused sick leave or permit the employee to carry over the accrued leave, up to a maximum of 40 sick leave hours. Under the proposed law, no employer will be required to provide more than 40 hours of sick leave to an employee during any calendar year (except to the extent applicable under the FMLA). Employers also will not be required to pay terminated employees for their unused, accrued sick leave. Paid sick time laws have been approved in Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Seattle; Portland, OR; and Connecticut. By contrast, last month Philadelphia’s mayor vetoed similar proposed legislation last month, and an attempted override was unsuccessful.
Social Media Legislation in New Jersey
An increasing number of states have passed laws barring employers from requiring prospective or current employees to provide their social media usernames and passwords as a condition of employment. Proposed legislation that had been pending in New Jersey attempted to take the stakes one step higher by providing individuals with a private cause of action against a business in the event of a breach.
Earlier this week Governor Christie conditionally vetoed this legislation, objecting in particular to the portion of the bill providing individuals with a private cause of action. Instead, under the modified version that the Governor has endorsed, the Department of Labor would be responsible for enforcement, and civil penalties would be limited to $1,000 for the first violation and $2,500 for each additional violation. The Governor also objected to the provision that would bar employers even from asking employees if they have a social media account at all.
Further updates will be provided as they become available.
Courts Strike Down Mandatory NLRA Poster
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has vacated a National Labor Relations Board rule from last year requiring all employers (including non-union shops) to display a poster informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) of their right to unionize. Employers sought an injunction barring implementation of the rule, and after much court activity, employers won and will not be required to inform their employees about their right to unionize under the NLRA.