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Westchester County, New York, Passes Earned Sick Leave Law

Westchester County recently joined the growing list of jurisdictions all over the country mandating time off for employees.  The details will be quite familiar to those who have followed the myriad of such laws which have sprung up over the last few years.

Eligible employees will earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked and can use up to 40 hours in a year.  Employees working for employers with five or more employees earn paid sick time, while others earn unpaid sick time.  Employees can use the time for their or a family member’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; need for medical diagnosis and care; or treatment of such illnesses, injuries, or conditions; or the need for preventative medical care; among other reasons.

The law will go into effect on April 10, 2019 – 180 days after it was passed.  Employees will begin accruing sick time at the start of employment or 90 days after the law goes into effect, whichever is later.

Employers must also give employees a copy of the law and a written notice of how the law applies to them at the start of employment or within 90 days of the law going into effect, whichever is later.  Employers must also post a copy of the law and a poster in English, Spanish, and potentially other languages, as deemed appropriate by the County of Westchester. 

Employers will also be subject to record retention requirements – they must document the hours worked and earned sick time accrued and taken by employees for a period of three years.  Failure to do so will result in a rebuttable presumption that the employer violated the law.  This essentially means the burden of proof will be on the employer to disprove their violation, rather than on the employee to prove it (as is typical in most litigation in the United States).  This is a much more difficult proposition, so employers should be sure to maintain excellent records.

Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with the latest state and federal employment laws.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.454.0560.