(October 1, 2014)
New York City's Paid Sick Leave Law DOES cover household employees. The coverage, however, is a bit different than for workers employed by commercial or public enterprises.
Household employees who have worked for the same employer for at least one year and who work more than 80 hours a calendar year earn two days of paid sick leave under New York City law. The two days of annual sick leave become available at the one-year anniversary of employment. This applies to all household employees who work in NYC, regardless of where they live. The NYC-mandated sick leave is in addition to the three days of paid rest to which domestic workers are entitled under the New York State Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.
Household employers that already provide at least five days of any kind of paid time off (i.e., personal days, vacation and sick leave) would not be required to provide any additional sick time, either paid or unpaid, under the law.
Who is a household employee?
New York State Law defines "domestic worker" (household employee) as someone who works in another person's home. A domestic worker's job include:
- Caring for children or a sick or elderly person
- Housekeeping chores
- Other domestic duties performed in the employers' home
This law does not cover household workers who:
- Work on a casual basis, such as part-time baby-sitters in the homes of their employers and work less than 80 hours in a calendar year
- Are relatives of their employers or of the person(s) for whom they offer care
Upon termination of employment, the household employer is not required to pay the departing household employee for unused sick leave. Employers can either pay out accrued but unused sick leave to their household employees annually or permit employees to carry over accrued sick leave from year to year, up to a maximum of 2 days.
Example: A household employee has been employed for two years. In the second year of employement, the household employee was entitled to two days of paid sick leave. The employee used one day in the year. The employer may either pay out the additional day at the second anniversary date of employment, or credit the household worker with three days of paid sick leave in the coming year.
How much does an employer have to pay an employee for paid sick leave?
An employer must pay the employee the employee’s regular hourly rate at the time the sick leave is taken. Employees cannot be paid less than the full minimum hourly wage set by New York State law. As of December 31, 2013, the New York State minimum wage is $8 per hour. It will increase to $8.75 per hour on December 31, 2014 and to $9 per hour on December 31, 2015.
Example: A household employee is regularly scheduled to work ten hours in the day. The household employee is ill and entitled to paid sick leave. The household employee must be paid for that day's regularly scheduled hours at her regular rate of pay.
What is the effective date for household employees?
Household employees who began working for an employer on April 1, 2014 or earlier will accrue their first two days of paid sick leave on the latter of August 1, 2014 or their one year anniversary.