June 6, 2019

Westchester County Enacts Safe Time Leave Law

On May 3, 2019, the County of Westchester, New York enacted the Safe Time Leave Law (Local Law 3-2019). This law requires all employers in Westchester County, beginning October 30, 2019, to provide up to 40 hours of paid leave per year for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

The safe time leave provisions are to be provided in addition to other entitlements, such as sick leave provided for under Westchester County's Earned Sick Leave Law enacted in October, 2018 (see our prior Benefit Beat articles from May, 2019 and December, 2018). 

Employers subject to the law include as any person, corporation, limited liability company, or association employing any individual, in any occupation, industry, trade, business or service, including Westchester County government.

An eligible employee is any full-time or part-time individual who works for an employer in Westchester County for more than 90 days in a calendar year with few exceptions.

Amount and use of leave.  If an employee or his/her family member is a victim of domestic violence or human trafficking, the employee is entitled to take up to 40 hours of paid leave in a year to attend/testify in criminal and/or civil court proceedings relating to domestic violence or human trafficking and/or to move to a safe location.   For this purpose, family member includes a current or former spouse, domestic partner, significant other, or the child’s parents without regard to common living arrangements, and individuals related by consanguinity.

Notice Requirements

  • Employee notice. An employee may request safe leave orally, in writing, electronically, or by any other means acceptable to the employer. The request must include the expected duration of the absence. For a foreseeable request, the employee must make a good faith effort to provide advance notification, and schedule the absence in a manner that does not unduly disrupt the operations of the employer.

An employer may require the employee to provide reasonable documentation that the safe leave is being used for a covered purpose. Documentation may include a court subpoena, police report, or an affidavit from a reputable organization known to provide assistance to victims of domestic violence or human trafficking.

  • Employer Notice Obligations. Employers must provide its employees with a copy of the Safe Leave Time Law, as well as a written notice explaining how the law applies to employees.  Such notice must be provided upon the employee’s date of hire, or within 90 days of the effective date of the law, whichever is later.  Employers must also display a copy of the Safe Time Leave Law poster (to be developed by the County of Westchester) in a conspicuous location accessible to its workforce.

Confidentiality – maintenance of records.  Information about an employee or family member obtained solely for the purposes of utilizing safe time leave must be treated as confidential. The information possessed by an employer regarding an employee or employee's family member must be maintained on a separate form and in a separate file from other personnel information.

Coordination with other laws.  The safe leave provided for by this law must be provided in addition to other entitlements, such as sick leave provided for under Westchester County's Earned Sick Leave Law.  See our May, 2019 and December, 2018 editions of the Benefit Beat for a summary of Westchester County’s earned sick leave law.

Enforcement Agency.  The Westchester County Department of Weights and Measures – Consumer Protection enforces the provision of this law.

The information contained in this article is provided as general guidance and may be affected by changes in law or regulation. This article is not intended to replace or substitute for accounting or other professional advice. Please consult a CBIZ professional. This information is provided as-is with no warranties of any kind. CBIZ shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever in connection with its use and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.

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