The provisions of the New York City Earned Sick Time Act have been amended to now provide “safe time,” paid safe leave for survivors of domestic violence, unwanted sexual contact, stalking, or human trafficking. The amendment, which was signed by Mayor de Blasio on November 5, 2017, took effect on May 5, 2018.

According to Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Consumer Affairs, New York City is the first in the nation to extend safe leave to survivors of human trafficking. “The City is stepping up to ensure that vulnerable individuals are able to access the care they need without jeopardizing their livelihood,” says Mayor de Blasio.

The revised law is now known as the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (ESSTA). It expands the definition of family to include any individual whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of family. These individuals can use safe and sick leave in order to help their family plan their next steps to safety.

Guidelines

Under the new law, employees can take time off to restore their own physical, psychological, and economic well-being, or that of a family member dealing with family offense matters, physical offenses, stalking and human trafficking. For instance, qualifying safe time may be used to:

  • Obtain services from a domestic violence shelter or crisis center (or other shelter or services program)
  • Participate in safety planning and temporarily or permanently relocate
  • Meet with an attorney or other social service provider to obtain information and advice
  • File a complaint or domestic incident report with law enforcement
  • Take other actions to ensure their own or family members’ physical, psychological, or economic health or safety

Employers are required to distribute the new Notice of Employee Rights on June 4. New hires starting to work on June 5 or after must receive written notice at the beginning of their employment. For more information on what employers need to know about paid safe and sick leave, head to the NYC Consumer Affairs website.

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