Can Employers Deny Sick Leave? An Expert's Guide

The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) enforces the New York City Paid Sick Leave Act, which requires employers with four or fewer employees to offer sick leave, though not necessarily paid. It's essential for New York employees to understand their employer's sick leave policy. When an employer denies an employee the right to paid sick leave or retaliates against the employee for using their leave, it is helpful to consult with an attorney. No, an employer cannot deny sick time.

If you are seriously ill and haven't exhausted your unpaid sick days, your employer cannot deny you sick leave. However, there are no United States laws or regulations on paid sick leave for employees. If the DCA determines that an employer retaliated against an employee who intended to exercise their rights under the Paid Sick Leave Act, the DCA can impose severe consequences against the employer.

Employees with paid or unpaid leave

, including sick leave, excesses, disciplinary suspension, or any other type of temporary absence, are counted as long as the employer has a reasonable expectation that the employee will later return to active employment.

No employer shall require an employee

to provide confidential information, including the nature of an illness, its prognosis, treatment, or other related information, nor will it require any details or information about the leave taken pursuant to Section 196-b (a) (iii) of the Labor Act (also known as secure leave).Even if an employer can legally require a doctor's note, they cannot expect them to specify the nature of the employee's condition or illness.

New York City labor law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who use their paid sick leave. An employer cannot require an employee or the person providing documentation, including medical professionals, to disclose the reason for the leave, except as required by law. Employers cannot interfere with investigations conducted by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), which investigates employee complaints under the Paid Sick Leave Act. If you're concerned about your employer's policy, the employment law attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP can help. The employer must offer two days of paid sick leave in addition to up to three days of paid sick leave, as required by the New York State Labor Law.

For the purposes of Section 196-b, the number of employees employed by an employer during a calendar year shall be determined by counting the largest total number of employees employed concurrently at any time in the calendar year to date. Except where prohibited by law, an employer may request documentation from an employee that confirms their eligibility to take sick leave under Section 196-b of the Labor Act, when the employee uses the leave for three or more consecutive and pre-scheduled work days or shifts. However, if an employer voluntarily decides to offer paid sick leave benefits to employees, it must comply with the terms of the employment contract or established policy. New York labor law requires employers to inform employees of any sick leave policies they allow. The laws enforced by the EEOC require employers to provide reasonable accommodations (changes in the way things are normally done at work) due to the employer's disability or religious beliefs, under certain circumstances.

Cornelius Maxon
Cornelius Maxon

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