Starting April 1, New York City’s newly minted paid sick leave law – mandating coverage for all workers at businesses with five or more employees – will take effect. Expectations by city government officials highlight that paid sick leave will now be secured for 500,000 or more New Yorkers.

Signed into law March 20 by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Earned Sick Time Act mirrors similar efforts in San Francisco, Connecticut, Seattle, Portland, Washington, D.C. and other cities offering paid sick leave benefits. The new statute calls for eliminating the phase-in process regarding existing legislation, passed in 2013.

Prior rules – which were to be implemented this spring – required businesses with 15 or more employees to provide paid sick days.

New provisions call for the inclusion of manufacturing sectors and modify the definition of family members to include grandparents, grandchildren and siblings. Rules also call for eliminating any economic markers that could have stopped implementation.

“From Day One of this administration, we’ve made it our mission to lift up working families and raise the wage and benefit floor for all New Yorkers,” de Blasio said, when he signed the bill. “This law is the first of many steps we are taking to fundamentally address the inequality in this city.”

According to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, the paid sick time mandate, whether it be a regional requirement or city law, has become a developing movement that employers of all sizes will address.

“This is definitely part of a growing trend around the country,” says Michelle Silverman, a partner in Morgan Lewis’ labor and employment practice. She adds that while 10-11 jurisdictions have passed earned sick time laws recently, there are roughly 12 more currently considering these mandates.

She states that the five or more employee requirement in New York City’s law is customary to what has been done in cities such as Portland, Ore., who requires this benefit for employers with six or more employees.

“Most of the laws cover the overwhelming majority of workers in whatever the given jurisdiction,” Silverman says.

The one hurdle for employers will be to revise policies so that they are up to new standards, she adds.

“It’s not so much scrambling to give the employees sufficient paid time off but actually to make sure the paid time off they are giving will be compliant with the statutory requirement of the Earned Sick Time Act,” she says.

Previously, Morgan Lewis attorneys explained that a universal approach to paid sick leave policies can be difficult for employers with offices across multiple states.

“It is very difficult to take a one-size-fits-all [direction] given all the nuances here,” said Corrie Fischel Conway, counsel within Morgan Lewis’ labor and employment practice in Washington D.C.

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