How will the sick pay law work for musicians?

Volume 113, No. 6June, 2013

The new law means that even part-time musicians may earn paid sick time.

The new law means that even part-time musicians may earn paid sick time.

Under the new sick pay law, workers will be entitled to up to five paid sick days a year, with the right to carry over unused earned sick days. Sick leave will accrue at the rate of one hour per every 30 hours worked, so even part-time employees will be entitled to sick leave.

Accrual commences upon employment, but sick leave cannot be utilized until 120 days after employment began.

Unused accrued sick days may be carried over year to year. Employees who do not qualify for paid coverage are still entitled to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave at the same accrual rates.

How could this help you as a musician? Let’s say you play music for a restaurant every Friday night from 8 p.m. to midnight. That’s four hours a week. After a year of working there (208 hours total), you would be entitled to almost seven hours of paid sick leave. Now if you put that together with all of the other freelance work you do, it could really add up. (The maximum under the law is 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.)

If you already enjoy sick pay under an existing union contract (like the Local 802 Broadway agreement), the new sick pay law won’t give you new benefits; the law exempts collective bargaining agreements that contain sick pay provisions. The new law also only covers employees who work in the city more than 80 hours in a calendar year.

Finally, the law will be suspended in the event of another economic downturn. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs will oversee enforcement of the law.