As you may have heard, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs has been actively enforcing New York City’s Earned Sick Time Act (“ESTA”) and issuing hefty monetary penalties to covered employers for violating the law. So serious is the City about enforcement and penalties that it has created an Office of Labor Standards to enforce compliance with the ESTA.
Effective March 4, 2016, amended rules take effect for covered New York City employers concerning the ESTA. These amended rules are intended to provide guidance to covered employers to, among other things: 1) address written sick time policies and what employers must include in them; 2) address situations where employees are employed by a joint employer; and 3) clarify what records employers must keep. In light of these developments, employers would be wise to review their sick leave policies with employment counsel to ensure they are fully compliant.
The Office of Labor Standards is tasked with “making recommendations for worker education, safety and protection, educating employers on labor laws, creating public education campaigns regarding worker rights, and collecting and analyzing labor statistics.” The Director of that Office “will have authority to conduct investigations, serve subpoenas, and impose civil penalties on businesses that violate NYC’s labor standards.” That Office will also be responsible for enforcing compliance with the new Commuter Benefits law which, as of January 1, 2016, requires covered employers to allow employees to use pre-tax income to buy qualified transportation fringe benefits.