On March 18, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law providing emergency paid sick leave to New Yorkers. The proposed bill provides job-protected leave benefits for employees affected by COVID-19.
Effective March 18, 2020, employees subject to mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation issued by the state of New York, the department of health, local board of health, or any governmental entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19, will be entitled to paid sick leave as follows:
- Employers with 10 or fewer employees (as of Jan. 1, 2020) and a net income of less than $1 million shall provide unpaid sick leave until the termination of any quarantine or isolation, and guarantee employees access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability), with no waiting period, for the period of quarantine including wage replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.
- Employers with 11-99 employees (as of Jan. 1, 2020) and employers with 10 or fewer employees (as of Jan. 1, 2020) and a net income greater than $1 million shall provide at least 5 days paid sick leave, and then unpaid sick leave until the termination of any quarantine or isolation. Further, employers must guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine including wage replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.
- Employers with 100 or more employees (as of Jan. 1, 2020), as well as public employers (regardless of the number of employees), shall provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave during any order of quarantine or isolation.
With the exception of employees subject to quarantine or isolation as a result of non-business travel to a country identified as level 2 or 3 risk by the CDC, any provided paid sick leave under the bill is in addition to an employee’s accrued sick leave provided by the employer’s policy. The bill also specifies that should the federal government provide sick leave and/or other benefits to employees in response to COVID-19, the leave provided under this bill shall not be in addition to those benefits, but rather will offset the difference of any benefits offered by the federal government.
Additionally, employees are not eligible to take sick leave if they are deemed asymptomatic or have not yet been diagnosed with a medical condition and are physically able to work remotely or through other means while under a mandatory quarantine or isolation.
Note that the paid sick leave requirements above do not currently apply to private employers that voluntarily closed business operations for COVID-19 related safety and health concerns. However, this may change if New York implements a Shelter-In-Place Order similar to counties in California.
The bill originally proposed by Governor Cuomo had included a permanent paid sick leave law; however, that portion of the bill was removed by the legislature.