Skip to Main Content
Services Talent Knowledge
Site Search


Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

December 28, 2017

Enhanced New York City Paid Leave Law for Domestic Violence Victims Takes Effect May 5, 2018

Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill renaming New York City's existing sick leave law to the Earned Sick and Safe Time Act ("ESSTA"), which takes effect in May 2018. For New York City employees, the new law expands sick leave to encompass so-called "safe time," which would allow victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking time off for health appointments, counseling, court appearances and other related services. In addition, the new law expands the definition of "family members" who also have the right to take time off to assist victims.

The existing law, which has been in effect since April 2014, allows employees to accrue one hour of paid leave time for every 30 hours they work, up to a maximum of 40 paid hours per year. Covered employees include anyone who works in New York City for at least 80 hours per year for employers with five or more employees.  Employers with one to four employees who work more than 80 hours per year in New York City must provide unpaid sick leave. ESSTA does not change the maximum number of hours workers can accrue, but it broadens the circumstances under which leave may be requested and the categories of employees who may request it to assist someone else.

Examples of acceptable leave requests include employees filing a police report, visiting a rape crisis center or a domestic violence shelter, meeting with a civil attorney or the district attorney's office, attending a court appearance, enrolling children in a new school, or simply accompanying a family member to these events. Employers may require reasonable documentation to confirm the leave was covered under the law but, in order to protect victims' privacy, employers cannot ask for specific details of the underlying offense.

ESSTA defines "family member" as a child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or child or parent of an employee's spouse or domestic partner. Also covered are any other blood relative or individual who has the "equivalent of a family relationship" (not defined in the law) with the employee. This expansion was intended to recognize chosen families, not just biological ones.

New York City employers with existing sick leave policies are encouraged to review those policies to ensure compliance with ESSTA's "safe time" components and expanded coverage of family members. Members of Barclay Damon's labor and employment practice would be pleased to assist in those review efforts before the law becomes effective in May 2018.


Click here to sign up for alerts, blog posts, and firm news.

Featured Media


Second Department Joins Other Departments: NYS Child Victims Act Applies to Out-of-State Residents Who Resided in NYS at Time of Abuse


Website Accessibility Lawsuits: Several "Tester" Plaintiffs—Gladys Vasquez, Monique Reid, Raymond Forrest, Pedro Martinez, Linda Slade, and Felipe Fernandez—Targeting Businesses in Recent Flurry of Lawsuits


Website Accessibility Lawsuits: Several "Tester" Plaintiffs—Compres, Sanchez, Fontanez, Pajaro, Garcia, and Jaquez—Targeting Businesses in Recent Flurry of Lawsuits


Website Accessibility Lawsuits: Several "Tester" Plaintiffs—Competello, Fernandez, Liz, Riley, and Trippett—Targeting Businesses in Recent Flurry of Lawsuits


CDPAP Providers Get First Look at the Future of CDPAP Without FIs


New York State Fiscal Year 2025 Budget: Implications for Employers Unpacked

We're Growing in DC!

We’re excited to announce Barclay Damon’s combination with Washington DC–based Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram. SLS’s 10 lawyers, three paralegals, and four administrative staff will join Barclay Damon while maintaining their current office in DC’s central business district. Our clients will benefit from SLS’s corporate, real estate, finance, and construction litigation experience and national energy-industry profile, and their clients from our full range of services.

Read More

This site uses cookies to give you the best experience possible on our site and in some cases direct advertisements to you based upon your use of our site.

By clicking [I agree], you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For information on what cookies we use and how to manage our use of cookies, please visit our Privacy Statement.

I AgreeOpt-Out