After announcing his intention to do so last week, New York Governor Cuomo has reached an agreement with the state legislature regarding paid sick leave. The agreement provides for immediate emergency paid sick leave for workers affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The legislation also includes comprehensive paid sick leave for New York employees generally, which will become effective 180 days after passage.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave Provisions
These provisions are effective immediately.
The legislation provides for paid sick leave to employees under an order to quarantine, based on the size of the employer:
These benefits must be provided in addition to any accrued sick leave an employee has under the employer’s current policies. In the event that the federal government provides for paid sick leave, employees will only be eligible for benefits above what is provided under federal law.
Employees who are subject to a quarantine order due to travelling to a country for which the CDC has issues a level two or three travel health notice, who travelled there not on company business, after the CDC issued the notice, will not be eligible for these benefits.
The legislation also amends Paid Family Leave and disability benefits requirements to allow for benefits to be paid upon the first full day of unpaid period of mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine, without any waiting period.
Separately, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order last week waiving the seven-day waiting period for Unemployment Insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to COVID-19 closures or quarantines.
Paid Sick Leave
These provisions will become effective 180 days after passage.
The legislation also generally requires employers to provide sick leave to their employees, based on the size of the employer:
Sick leave may be used for the employee’s or the employee’s family member’s medical care, diagnosis, or treatment as well as absence from work to obtain services or assistance related to domestic violence, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking of the employee or the employee’s family member.
Employees who already have paid sick leave or paid time off policies that exceed these requirements are not required to provide additional leave.
Levenfeld Pearlstein continues to monitor developments regarding COVID-19 and is available to provide advice and guidance—remotely—to employers with questions about managing their workforce during the pandemic.
For more resources and LP's response to COVID-19, visit this webpage.