There is no New York state law requiring private employers to provide employees sick leave, paid or unpaid, although many employers do grant it as an important employee benefit.
It is important to remember, however, that if sick leave is promised, an employer may create a legal obligation to grant it. Employers should regularly review statements made in handbooks or elsewhere to ensure that they accurately reflect current policies. If changes are necessary, the policy should be revised and employees notified of the changes.
Employers that do have sick leave policies are required to notify their employees of the policy in writing or by publicly posting the policy (NY Lab. Law Ch. 31 Art. 6 Sec. 195).
The state Human Rights Law protects domestic violence victims from employment discrimination for taking time off from work to go to court; consult with a district attorney, counselor, and/or doctor; and recuperate from injuries.
It is a violation of the law to treat an employee who is a domestic violence victim differently from any other employee because of that employee's status as a domestic violence victim.
For example, if an employer provides personal time off (PTO) or sick leave for its employees, it may not deny a domestic violence victim use of those policies to attend to issues pertaining to domestic violence, such as court appearances or going to doctors.
Additional information on leave rights for domestic violence victims is also available.