Westchester County, New York Issues Guidance and Mandatory Notices for Safe Time Leave Law
As we previously reported, effective October 30, 2019, Westchester County, NY employers are required to provide paid leave to employees who are victims of domestic violence or human trafficking (“safe time”). Leave under the new ordinance will be in addition to paid time off already required to be provided to employees under the Westchester County paid sick leave law, which took effect on April 10, 2019.
In connection with the effective date of the safe time leave law, the Westchester County Human Rights Commission has released new FAQs as well as a Notice of Employee Rights and mandatory poster. While the Commission’s FAQs generally restate the law’s requirements, they do clarify the rate of pay employees must receive when taking leave. Specifically, employers must pay employees the hourly rate they would have otherwise earned had they reported to work. However, the FAQs do not address pay calculations for employees not paid on an hourly basis (e.g., piece-rate workers or employees who only earn commission).
Employers are required to provide both a copy of the safe leave ordinance and the Notice of Employee Rights to eligible employees on the first day of employment or within 90 days of the law’s effective date (i.e., by no later than January 28, 2020), whichever is later. Employers must also display a copy of the ordinance and the mandatory poster in both English and Spanish in a conspicuous location accessible to employees. Failure to comply with the notice and posting requirements can result in fines of up to $500 for each offense.
Employers in Westchester County, New York should review their existing policies and postings to ensure compliance with these requirements.