For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Department of Consumer Affairs Launches New, Targeted Public Awareness Campaign to Ensure New Yorkers Know They Are Covered By and Can Use the City's Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law

NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the launch of a new public awareness campaign to educate New Yorkers about their rights and protections under the recently expanded NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, which went into effect May 5, 2018.

Recent studies have praised New York City for its rollout and enforcement of the NYC Paid Sick Leave Law – to date, DCA’s Office of Labor Policy & Standards (OLPS) has recovered more than $8.1 million dollars in relief and penalties for over 25,000 workers under the law. Reports have also highlighted that certain vulnerable populations – including low-wage and immigrant workers, part-time workers and workers at small businesses – continue to report a lack of access to sick leave or think the law does not apply to them. The ad campaign will help to ensure all New Yorkers know about their rights and know they can use them under the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law.

In addition to providing the right to sick leave, the law now also allows workers who have been the victim of any act or threat of domestic violence or unwanted sexual contact, stalking, or human trafficking to use their leave to plan their next steps and focus on safety without fear of penalty or loss of income. The amended law also expands the definition of family for whom safe and sick leave can be used to any individual whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of family. The amended Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law covers an estimated 3.4 million workers in New York City.

“Workers need to know they have these important rights – and that the City will help them exercise them,” said DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “DCA is committed to empowering communities by ensuring they know their protections under the law, and that people know we are a resource for enforcement of those protections.

The multilingual campaign highlights workers in industries that disproportionately employ low-wage and immigrant workers, and stresses that these rights apply to part-time and small business workers, as well as full-time workers. The ads also highlight that retaliation is illegal, that the law applies regardless of immigration status, and that complaints can be filed anonymously with DCA. In addition to community marketing, the ads will be featured on the city’s bus shelters, telephone kiosks, LinkNYC kiosks, as well as in in community and ethnic newspapers, on radio and online.

Three campaign ads with tagline Safe and Sick Leave: It's the Law

“The NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law will protect survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and now it is our duty to inform these survivors of their rights,” said Speaker Corey Johnson. “Through DCA’s public awareness campaign on Paid Safe and Sick Leave, we will educate survivors of all the essential services offered to them but most of all, we will remind survivors that we always will hear and support them. I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio and DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas for their commitment to survivors, and I would like to thank my former colleagues, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, for spearheading the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law and making it a reality.”

“Good laws are only the first step in guaranteeing workplace fairness,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Thorough outreach and robust enforcement are each essential to ensure that our Paid Sick and Safe Leave policies accomplish their goals.”

“We enacted the Paid Sick Law as it’s known today because it was apparent that working individuals and families were burdened with an impossible choice: work at the expense of their own health and well being or seek care at the expense of losing their income,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller, chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor. “Last year, Paid Safe Leave protections were incorporated into this beneficial measure so that domestic violence and sexual assault survivors would also be spared the indignity of that choice. But all of these actions would be in vain were it not for this Administration’s persistent efforts to make New Yorkers aware of their rights under Paid Sick and Safe Leave. I thank Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas and her colleagues for this initiating this latest campaign to alert the public about this important law.”

“We are proud to continue to partner with DCA on Paid Sick and Safe Leave and to support a campaign to raise awareness about this new law which will have a tremendous impact on survivors and families,” said Cecile Noel, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. “It is critical for survivors of gender-based violence to be able to maintain their economic and employment stability while also taking important steps to secure their safety. This groundbreaking law makes New York City the first city to pass a Paid Safe Leave law that includes victims of human trafficking in addition to domestic violence, sexual abuse, and stalking. NYC’s law and others like it in cities and states across the country are an important step forward in protecting and supporting victims of gender-based violence.”

“The newly expanded NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law allows New Yorkers to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and healthy," said First Deputy Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot, NYC Health Department. “The updated law recognizes that sexual and intimate partner violence, in its many forms, is a public health issue. This is a great accomplishment – New Yorkers will now be able to take the time they need to address these issues without fear of reprisal from their employers.”

“Community Service Society (CSS) hails the launch of an exciting new campaign by the Department of Consumer Affairs to raise public awareness of the right to paid sick and safe days in New York City,” said Nancy Rankin, Vice President for Policy Research and Advocacy at Community Service Society. “As we noted in our recent study, Expanding Workers’ Rights, while the percent of covered low-income workers with paid sick leave has climbed dramatically since the law went into effect, many low-wage workers who are employed part-time or by small employers still report a lack of paid leave. This new outreach and ad campaign will bolster enforcement by helping insure that all employees, especially the most vulnerable low-wage and immigrant workers, are aware that the law covers them and that retaliation is illegal.”

“One of the most consistent issues we hear from nannies is hesitancy to take sick time at the risk of losing pay or causing tension with their employers,” said Ben Fuller-Googins, Carroll Gardens Association. “Nannies will work while sick or be forced to leave their own sick family members at home because missing a day of work often means missing a day of pay. We are excited that this new campaign will make clear to employers their responsibilities in providing paid sick leave and equip workers with key resources, ensuring they are able to take care of themselves, their families, and the families they provide care for.”

“A core tenet of Fast Food Justice’s work, and a key focus for the organization’s members and fast food workers, is to ensure workers educate each other around their rights so there is industry compliance with New York City’s paid safe and sick leave law,” said Tsedeye Gebreselassie, Fast Food Justice Board President. “With its new public awareness campaign, DCA is adding another tool to its strong enforcement track record and working to ensure all workers – whether part-time or full-time and regardless of their immigration status – can realize their rights under law.”

“Safe and Sick Leave gives New Yorkers the dignity of being able to take care of themselves and their families without sacrificing financial security,” said Deborah Axt, co-executive director Make the Road New York. “In order to access these benefits workers- especially immigrant workers who are increasingly vulnerable to workplace exploitation- need to understand and be able to enforce their rights. That is why the Department of Consumer Affairs’ outreach initiative is so critical and timely.”

“Paid Safe Leave is extremely important to domestic workers, who live and work across many NYC communities,” said Allison Julien, National Domestic Workers Alliance. “The Paid Safe Leave Campaign will not only kick off widespread education around this groundbreaking law, but also communicates to domestic workers that they are supported to take critical next steps to live free of violence. And it also communicates to domestic employers that they are part of this equation. For domestic workers who care and clean for other families, it is essential they too can be supported to attain the care necessary for themselves and their loved ones.”

“Workers should never have to choose between their health and their livelihoods,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “All too often non-union workers are still denied this basic right. DCA’s efforts to correct this is not just the right thing to do. It’s smart public policy.”

Under the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, employers with five or more employees who work more than 80 hours per calendar year in New York City must provide paid safe and sick leave to employees. Employers with fewer than five employees must provide unpaid safe and sick leave. Accrual of safe and sick leave is at a rate of one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per calendar year, and begins on employees’ first day of employment. Employees can begin using accrued leave 120 days after their first day of work.

Over the past four years, DCA’s extensive outreach and education efforts have informed millions of New Yorkers about the law, helping both employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities. DCA has attended more than 1,500 events and distributed more than 2 million pieces of informational material about paid sick leave. Since the Paid Sick Leave Law went into effect, the agency has closed more than 1,200 cases, securing more than $8.1 million dollars in restitution and fines for more than 25,000 employees.

Employers and employees can visit or call 311 (212-NEW-YORK outside NYC) for more information including the required Notice of Employee Rights, one-page overviews for employers and employees, and the complaint form. DCA also developed tools to help employers keep track of employees’ hours worked and safe and sick leave used, as well as model forms for verification of authorized safe and sick time. Employers and employees can also visit to access domestic violence related information, education and resources.

The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCA licenses more than 81,000 businesses in more than 50 industries and enforces key consumer protection, licensing, and workplace laws that apply to countless more. By supporting businesses through equitable enforcement and access to resources and, by helping to resolve complaints, DCA protects the marketplace from predatory practices and strives to create a culture of compliance. Through its community outreach and the work of its offices of Financial Empowerment and Labor Policy & Standards, DCA empowers consumers and working families by providing the tools and resources they need to be educated consumers and to achieve financial health and work-life balance. DCA also conducts research and advocates for public policy that furthers its work to support New York City’s communities. For more information about DCA and its work, call 311 or visit DCA at or on its social media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Media Contacts:
Gloria Chin / Christine Gianakis
Department of Consumer Affairs
(212) 436-0393

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