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Bellizio & Igel, PLLC is a New York City law firm which advises entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes in a variety of industries such as technology, media, entertainment and the arts.

News & Articles

Summary: Earned Sick Time Act

Brian Igel

Summary

Effective as of April 1, 2014, private sector employers with five or more employees must provide paid sick leave to eligible full-time and part-time employees who work in New York City for more than 80 hours in a calendar year.  Employers with less than five such employees must provide unpaid leave.

 

Determining Employer Size

Where the number of employees fluctuates, size may be determined by reference to the average number of employees who worked for compensation per week during the preceding calendar year. Special aggregation rules apply to chain businesses.

 

What is a  calendar year?

The calendar year is a bit of a misnomer.  It can either be a set fiscal year of the employer’s choice (e.g., January 1 to December 31), or it can vary from employee to employee, based on an employee’s particular start date.  Regardless of which is chosen, meticulous record keeping regarding accrual and carry over is necessary. 

 

Who is exempt?

1.       Public sector employers are generally exempt.

2.       Private sector employers that provide the requisite paid time off (e.g., vacation and/or personal days) – not just to full time employees but part-time employees also.

3.       Private sector employees that are participants in work experience programs, participants in federal work-study programs, employees compensated via qualified scholarships, certain hourly professionals licensed by the NYS DOE and certain employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

4.       Private sector employees who are telecommuters not telecommuting from NYC.

5.       Independent contractors and anyone who is 1099’d.

6.       Employees covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) on April 1, 2014 (until such agreement terminates). In addition, the new leave provisions will not apply thereafter if the new CBA expressly waives the provisions and provides a comparable benefit.

7.       Construction or grocery industry employees covered by a CBA (regardless of whether the agreement provides a comparable benefit).

 

Accrual

Accrual of sick time begins the later of (i) commencement of employment or (ii) April 1, 2014.  Accrued time can’t be utilized until 120 days after employee has been hired (or August 1, 2014, whichever is later).  The accrual rate is 1 hour of sick leave per 30 hours worked.  The annual employer year accrual cap is 40 hours of sick leave.

 

Use

1.       Accrued sick time may be used for one’s own or a family member’s mental or physical  condition or preventive medical care.  A “family member” is an employee’s child, grandchild, spouse, domestic partner, parent, grandparent, sibling, or the child or parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner. Employees may also use accrued sick time for reasons relating either to the closure of their place of business or child’s school or day care due to a public health emergency.

2.       Employers may set a minimum increment of sick time use, not to exceed four hours per day.

3.       Employers may require employees to provide up to 7 days advance notice of the need for leave if employee’s need is foreseeable, or as much notice as practicable when employee’s need is not foreseeable. Employers may also require reasonable documentation from a licensed health care provider establishing the need for leave lasting more than three consecutive work days. Note that employers may not require disclosure of the nature of the need for leave as part of such documentation.

 

Carryover

1.       Any and all accrued sick time must be allowed to carry over to the following employer year (unless the employer pays the employee for that time).  However, the employer may cap sick time in any employer year at 40 hours...

2.       Employers are not required to pay employees for accrued but unused sick time upon retirement or separation from employment. Employers are, however, required to reinstate previously accrued but unused sick time if an employee is rehired within six months after separation.

 

Notice/Recordkeeping Requirements

1.       Employers must provide written notice of (i) employees' right to sick time, (ii) rules regrarding accrual and use, (iii) the employer’s "calendar year", and (iv) their right to file a complaint and to be free of retaliation. Notice must be given to new hires employed on or after April 1, 2014 on their first day of employment and to current employees by May 1, 2014. Notice must be given in English and in the primary language spoken by the employee, provided the DCA has made a translation available in downloadable format on its website. The DCA has posted a notice template in English, Spanish, Chinese, French-Creole, Italian, Korean, and Russian on its website.  Posting the notice, by itself, does not satisfy the notice requirement.

2.       Employers must retain records of hours worked by employees for 3 years, as well as the amount of sick time accrued and used. Confidentiality of records must be maintained.

 

Anti-retaliation

Employer is prohibited from threatening, firing, disciplining, reducing hours, or other adverse employment actions against employees for requesting or using sick time.

 

Enforcement/Penalties

1.       Any employee who claims to have been denied sick leave must seek relief only through the DCA. Employees have two years from the date they knew or should have known of a violation to file a complaint with the DCA. Available remedies include lost wage and benefits, and equitable relief such as reinstatement, as appropriate. In addition, employers who violate the Act will be liable for civil penalties ranging from $500 for the first violation up to $1,000 for subsequent violations. A penalty of up to $50 may be imposed for each employee who was not given the employee rights notice.

2.       Employers with fewer than 20 employees (and certain employers in the manufacturing sector) will have a six-month grace period (until October 1, 2014) to achieve full compliance. During that period, those employers will not be subject to penalties, and a first violation will not be counted against them. However, a second violation that occurs before October 1 will count toward penalties if a subsequent violation for the same offense occurs after October 1.

 

FTC Flexes Muscles: Misleading Endorsements Settlement

Brian Igel

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) entered into a settlement agreement with ADT regarding allegations that ADT deceived consumers by misrepresenting paid endorsements from safety and technology experts as independent reviews.  

Specifically, the FTC alleged that ADT and its agents booked certain experts on press junkets, such experts demonstrated, reviewed and endorsed ADT products for pay, and that ADT misrepresented the reviews as independently conducted by impartial experts.

As it turns out, these experts appeared in 40+ media outlets and posted blogs and other material online about ADT's product.  Under the settlement, ADT is (i) prohibited from misrepresenting in any way, express or implied, that any product discussion or demonstration is an independent review provided by an impartial expert and (ii) required to promptly remove reviews that were not independently provided by an impartial expert or which otherwise fail to disclose material connections between ADT and such experts.  Finally, like any other brand, ADT must clearly and prominently disclose any existing material connection between the company and paid experts.

Brand owners: Disclose all of your material connections clearly and honestly.  Not only will your customers appreciate your honesty, but you will also steer clear of FTC scrutiny.

Daniel is quoted in the New York Times today

Brian Igel

Check out the front page article about the Hells Angels.  The Hells Angels have been -- shall we say -- active in the federal court system, alleging trademark infringement of a panoply of Hells Angels products, which range from women's yoga pants to yoyos.

B+I is outside general counsel to Company 81, a casual young men's lifestyle brand.  Hells Angels sued Company 81, alleging that use of the number "81" was an infringement.  Daniel was quoted in the article about his dealing with Hells Angels.  You can read the whole article, including about how the matter was ultimately disposed of, here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/29/us/despite-outlaw-image-hells-angels-sue-often.html.

 

IFB and Crossroads presents "From Closet to Career"

Brian Igel

Last night, Independent Independent Fashion Bloggers and  Crossroads   hosted an event called, “From Closet to Career.”  The idea was to help emerging bloggers better understand blogging as a business.  The event opened with a panel about monetizing blogs, featuring me, Jessie Artigue (from the blog, Style & Pepper), Hilary Sloan (from Shopstyle) and moderated by IFB founder, Jennine Jacob.  It was an intimate setting, which was very conducive to Q&A, so, in addition to the non-legal stuff, I received a number of questions from the audience about negotiating contracts, trademark searches and forming entities.  It was great to get to know Hilary and Jessie, and to share some insights and experiences with them.  It was equally great to be able to speak to so many members of the IFB community individually, which I was able to do during the cocktail hour that followed an enlightening (and entertaining) conversation with  Garance Doré   about her blogging career.  In addition Garance’s obvious talent, you can just tell she is a cool chick.  Some people just have a certain aura about them.  I really enjoined listening to her speak about her humble beginnings and all the steps she took along the way to get to where she is today.  It was a great experience, and I can see why IFB is such a valuable resource to so many bloggers.  It’s just a great community to be a part of and I’m honored that they invited me to speak.

 

Blogger Garance Dore with Erin Wallace of Crossroads Trading (photo courtesy of Kat Harris)

Blogger Garance Dore with Erin Wallace of Crossroads Trading (photo courtesy of Kat Harris)

The panelists (photo courtesy of Kat Harris)

The panelists (photo courtesy of Kat Harris)

Both Brian Igel and Daniel Bellizio selected as "Rising Stars" for 2013 by Super Lawyers

Brian Igel

We're pleased to announce that both of the named partners of Bellizio + Igel PLLC have been selected by Super Lawyers as Rising Stars for 2013.

No more than 2.5% of the lawyers in any state are named to the Rising Stars list. Lawyers are asked to nominate the best attorneys whom they have personally observed, who are 40 or under, or who have been practicing for 10 years or less. In addition, an attorney-led research team reviews the credentials of the candidates.

We're authors!

Brian Igel

We were honored when Daniel was approached by the The American Bar Association (ABA) to pen a chapter on manufacturing for the ABA's Legal Guide to Fashion Design, the first fashion law book specifically authored by lawyers for a non-lawyer audience.  The book came out right before fashion week and, thanks to the CFDA, which purchased a copy for each of its 500 members, is now on back order.  The second printing is in process and you can place your order here.

 

Here's what others in the industry are saying about the book: 

 

"What a great book for everyone in our industry, especially young designers who are just starting out. These pages contain an enormous amount of valuable information, which is presented in very concise and easy to understand language. For those of us who are in the fashion design business, this book deserves a permanent spot on your desktop."
-- Nanette Lepore, designer 

"This book provides a detailed and practical understanding of the legal issues that apply to running a successful fashion company. The American Bar Association's Legal Guide to Fashion Design is a must-read for designers and executives of both big and small brands. It offers real expertise needed to compete in the global market." 
-Steven Kolb, CEO, Council of Fashion Designers of America

"The American Bar Association's Legal Guide to Fashion Design is marvelous. It's an essential resource for anyone looking to be or already in the fashion industry. " 
-Simon Collins, Dean, School of Fashion, Parsons The New School for Design

"A must read resource that joins the creative process with the ever complicated business/financial one. The book gives designers a rare opportunity to stay ahead of the curve while building their business. It should make its way into many industry hands." 
-Daniella Vitale, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Executive Vice President, Barneys New York

"We didn't create a field of fashion law for lawyers, we created it for designers and this ABA volume resonates with that spirit of helping designers to reap what they sew. The Fashion Financing chapter alone is an invaluable interdisciplinary resource." -Professor Susan Scafidi, Founder and Academic Director, Fashion Law Institute

New B+I Law Firm Website

Brian Igel

Photo by Steve

A couple of weeks ago we attended the rewardStyle Bloggers Conference in Dallas.  In additon to meeting Amber and Baxter and the entire rewardStyle team, we met some terrific bloggers and brand representatives.  Mary Vallarta from Fab Counsel asked us to cover the conference for her site, Fab Counsel, which we did.  You can read about the conference here.  Enjoy.

More cool stuff here.

Recap: rewardStyle Bloggers Conference

Brian Igel

A couple of weeks ago we attended the rewardStyle Bloggers Conference in Dallas.  In additon to meeting Amber and Baxter and the entire rewardStyle team, we met some terrific bloggers and brand representatives.  Mary Vallarta from Fab Counsel asked us to cover the conference for her site, Fab Counsel, which we did.  You can read about the conference here.  Enjoy.

Recap: FashInvest Capital Conference 2012

Brian Igel

Bellizio & Igel (B&I) was thrilled to take part in the third annual FashInvest Capital Conference this past Tuesday (December 11, 2012). FashInvest is dedicated to connecting traditional fashion and so-called “fashion-tech” entrepreneurs to VCs, angels, private equity and other strategic partners and vendors. This year’s conference featured an array of brands in different spaces and with varying degrees of experience. Some brands were selected to give two-minute-long “quick pitches” while others gave more detailed pitches, including feedback from a panel of industry experts. We were fortunate enough to be among the feedback panelists. I’ve included the full list of presenting brands here.

While B&I was first approached by FashInvest to be feedback panelists, after some further conversation, we agreed to an expanded role with the conference itself. We introduced several brands that ultimately participated (BridesideDormifyD’MarieShop My Label and Beautisol) and we connected Designer-of-the-Year award recipient, Diane Gilman (HSN’s “Queen of Jeans”) to FashInvest. We also agreed to be the official “Tweet” partner of the conference, and spent the day tweeting about the business and legal issues raised by the entrepreneurs, panelists and conference attendees. It was a great experience getting to know these fascinating entrepreneurs and their brands.

There’s no way to do this conference justice in the space provided by this blog, but we’ll point out some of the conference highlights (for us, anyway). We highly suggest that you attend next year’s conference in person. It’s a tremendous networking opportunity and a great place to learn more about the fashion investment community.

The quick pitches presented quite a challenge. How can you possibly provide enough information about the market, opportunity, team, competition, challenges, potential for success, use of funds and everything else that typically goes into a pitch in just two minutes? The short answer is you can’t and you don’t have to – you just have to do enough to wet a potential investor’s appetite and a couple of brands really stood out to me as accomplishing that.

Bazaart marries e-commence and art by reinventing digital catalogs on tablets. With Bazzart, anyone can create shoppable collages from their favorite fashion brands visual assets and share them with the world. Bazaart was already part of the DreamIt accelerator and had a great pitch, which effectively and succinctly explained their revenue streams (affiliate commissions and fees from retailer who want to make their catalog accessible on the site) and proprietary features (including patented technology which learns user tastes based on search patterns and recommends relevant products matching the user’s taste).

Brandon Fail of The Shoplift is a marketing genius. He managed to get everyone talking about his presentation BEFORE the conference had even begun. How? At the cocktail reception the night before the conference, he made a friendly wager with FashInvest CEO that he could get through 50 SLIDES in two minutes. The presentation itself was memorable (as is the name) and, yes, he won the bet. The Shoplift is billed as the first mall that the shopper get to build for themselves. “Shoplift” anything that’s available for sale on the web, run your own store, stock your own collection, build your own following, etc. The site is in beta, but we think it will make for a truly fun shopping experience.

The Shirt (by Rochelle Behrens) designs clothes for women who want look stylish at work and at play, without having to change wardrobes to do it. Rochelle has developed a patented dual-button technology which eliminates the gape across a woman’s bust. Rochelle wore one of her shirts, which was a great way to show “proof of concept.”

After the quick pitches, an All-star panel consisting of Lawrence Lenihan (FirstMark Capital), Daniel Schultz (DJF Gotham) and Morty Singer (Marvin Traub Associates) discussed what drives investors to invest. This was an all-star panel to be sure. Lenihan brought up a point that, judging from the retweets, clearly resonated. He said that features and widgets are not enough… you have to fill a need. Build a brand, don’t just sell stuff. Schultz thought that the key to the investment castle was scalability. Singer focused, in part, on the idea that a successful mobile strategy is crucial.

At lunch, keynote speaker Aslaug Magnusdottir, the CEO/Founder of Moda Operandi, was honored. After spending some time learning about the wild success that is Moda Operandi, we got back to the pitches.

We knew Dormify before the conference and we already knew they had a big idea. Dormify is a curated, online content and commerce brand offering home goods and similar products to students and young adults looking to create a unique living space at school and beyond. Think of a curated, more stylish and hipper online version of Bed Bath & Beyond. Dormify did a great job pointing out its great margins and relatively recession-proof market.

Modalyst is a curated, online wholesale accessories marketplace connecting emerging designers and independent boutiques. The key here is “collective buying,” so that boutiques can test new brands without worrying about minimums. Greater exposure means everyone wins. Modalyst did a great job of recognizing a problem and coming up with a simple, innovative solution to that problem.

SeamBLISS gave a great presentation. They, too, recognized a problem in the marketplace. Bespoke is all the rage, but high prices prevent a large swath of the fashion-buying public from participating in this market. At the same time, many talented sewers and designers are having a hard time making ends meet. SeamBLISS is an online marketplace where shoppers can connect and collaborate with these artisans to produce affordable, custom clothing.

Additional panels on Effective Exit Strategies and Winning Business Models followed the presentations, but Diane Gilman, in closing the conference, stole the show. Gilman reiterated the importance of persistence, noting that before she became the #1 fashion vendor on HSN, she had been forced to reinvent herself and her brand many times before she finally found lasting success over the course of the last several years (after more than 40 years in the business). Gilman’s passion and personality were infectious, and a crowd massed stage-side after she spoke to meet her.

If you’d like to get involved in the next conference, either as a presenting brand or as a panelist, please get in touch with us and we’ll make the necessary introductions.

 

Open Source Fashion Community Mixer

Brian Igel

We are pleased to be contributors to Open Source Fashion, an engaging community of fashion professionals focused on education and collaboration. As contributors, we were invited to attend the inaugural event for contributors, where we could all get to know each other and the rest of the community. Here’s a couple of pictures of us from the event courtesy of Justin Lee Images:

Bellizio & Igel with Elisabeth from Bag The Habit

B&I with Pavan and Alex of OS Fashion and Jose of Olapic.

Group Shot of OS Fashion Contributors

 

Check out the Open Source Fashion website for articles from us and other contributors, as well as additional pictures from the event.  You can join the community if interested here:  www.meetup.com/opensourcefashion