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New York State Paid Sick Leave Law

Among the many paid sick leave laws set forth by New York State and the federal government in response to COVID-19 is a bill signed by Governor Cuomo requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to employees beginning Jan. 1, 2021. Beginning Sept. 30, 2020, employers must allow employees to accrue paid sick time. Employers must provide the following amounts of paid sick time:

  • Employers with 0 to 4 employees must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave;
  • Employers with 0 to 4 employees with a net income greater than $1 million must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave;
  • Employers with 5 to 99 employees must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave; and
  • Employers with 100 or more employees must provide up to 56 hours of paid sick leave.

The following are permissible reasons for an employee to use paid sick time starting Jan. 1, 2021:

  • A mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition of such employee or such employee's family member, regardless of whether such illness, injury, or health condition has been diagnosed or requires medical care at the time that such employee requests such leave;
  • The diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition of, or need for medical diagnosis of, or preventive care for, such employee or such employee’s family member; or
  • An absence from work when the employee or employee's family member has been the victim of domestic violence, a family offense, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking:
    • to obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other services program;
    • to participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocate, or take other actions to increase the safety of the employee or employee’s family members;
    • to meet with an attorney or other social services provider to obtain information and advice on, and prepare for or participate in any criminal or civil proceeding;
    • to file a complaint or domestic incident report with law enforcement;
    • to meet with a district attorney's office;
    • to enroll children in a new school; or
    • to take any other actions necessary to ensure the health or safety of the employee or the employee's family member or to protect those who associate or work with the employee.

More details on the New York State Paid Sick Leave Law are available in an April 2020 memo from LeadingAge NY counsel Hinman Straub.

Notably, employers who provide sick leave or have paid time off (PTO) policies at, or in excess of, the required paid sick time do NOT have to add more sick time but must update their policies to address the required leave provisions which include accrual, use, and carryover of sick time.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has not yet released guidance on this law; LeadingAge NY will provide an update once it is available.