Domestic violence victims to get paid time off under bill passed by City Council

A bill giving paid time off to workers who make domestic abuse claims was passed by the City Council on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. / Yeong-Ung Yang

New York City employers would need to grant paid time off to workers who claim to be victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse or other “family offense matters,” according to legislation passed Tuesday by the City Council.

The bill, Introduction 1313-A of 2016, passed unanimously, and extends existing rules governing an employee’s “earned” sick time, which accrues over the course of time on the job, to family abuse claims.

“Often times, women would miss appointments with either a D.A., or miss appointments at the police precinct, or, unfortunately in cases, had to go and serve orders of protection, they had to go themselves and weren’t able to do that because they weren’t able to take the time off work,” said Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-Queens), a prime sponsor of the bill.

advertisement

A representative for Mayor Bill de Blasio, who must decide whether to sign or veto the legislation, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Covered family members under the bill include traditional family members such as a child, spouse, parent, sibling, grandchild or grandparent, as well as a domestic partner, a blood relative or “any other individual whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”

Last October, de Blasio, his wife and other council members announced a virtually identical plan to grant accusers time off for court dates, counseling, school registration and other matters.

The new legislation overlaps with the city’s latest sick-leave rules mandating that workers who put in more than 80 hours a year accrue at least 40 hours of paid sick leave.

Also unanimously, the council passed a package of “construction site safety standards” to increase fines and penalties for immediately hazardous violations, to $2,000 from $1,000. Other fines with no minimum are being set at $1,000. The council also voted to double penalties for construction sites with “excessive” violations.”

Another part of the package would require that work sites employ a safety coordinator and outline safety issues for the particular shift, as well as requiring periodic “refreshers.”

“It’s crucial to make sure that all our workers are safe,” said Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn).

The construction industry has criticized recent safety bills by City Hall as a giveaway to the city’s trade unions, who can set up and provide the training.