Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law now in effect in New York City

Victims of domestic violence and their family members are now allowed to take paid sick leave in order to find shelter, enroll their children in a new school and handle their affairs with an attorney.
Photo by Christina Santucci
By Naeisha Rose

The Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law is now in effect as of Monday, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas.

The law allows a victim of domestic violence, unwanted sexual contact, stalking or human trafficking to go on paid leave, according to the mayor’s office. A family member of the victim can also go on paid leave in order to support the victim in their time of need. This enables the victim to plan his or her next step and focus on personal safety without fear of penalty.

“The Paid Sick and Safe Leave law sends a clear message to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking – New York City stands with you,” said de Blasio. “The city is stepping up to ensure that vulnerable individuals are able to access the care they need without jeopardizing their livelihood.”

The law is receiving support from lawmakers across the board.

“Survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking often struggle with the psychological aftermath of a traumatic event,” said City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park). “I am proud to support this expansion, which will ensure that survivors of serious crimes have an opportunity to seek the treatment needed to heal without worrying about their next paycheck.”

Salas wants victims to know that the city supports its workforce and will not punish them for going through a horrible ordeal.

“Safe Leave sends a clear message to New York City’s workforce – the very backbone of our great city – that we support your physical, psychological, economic health and safety and will continue to fight for your rights,” said Salas. “I encourage all workers and employers to visit our website or to call 311 to request information about the Paid Safe and Sick Law.”

Under the law employees can take time off to obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other services programs. They will get the time they need to relocate, enroll a child in a new school, and take other actions to protect family members.

The law will allow time off for attorney or social service visits, consumer credit advice, and filing domestic violence reports to law enforcement agnecies or the district attorney’s office.

Employers with five or more employees who work more than 80 hours per calendar year in New York City must provide paid safe and sick leave to employees and employers with fewer than five must provide unpaid safe and sick leave, according to the mayor’s office.

“Accrual of safe and sick leave is at a rate of one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per calendar year, and begins on employee’s first day of employment,” said a spokesman for the mayor. “Employees can begin using accrued leave 120 days after their first day of work. For those employers who do not frontload safe and sick leave on the first day of a new calendar year, employees must be permitted to carry over up to 40 hours of unused safe and sick leave from one calendar year to the new calendar year.”

Carmelyn Malalis, the chair and commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, was pleased with the new law.

“Expanding paid sick leave to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking is not only the right thing to do, but will go a long way in ensuring that people at their most vulnerable are able to access the resources and services they need without sacrificing their wages,” said Malalis.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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