To our clients, colleagues and friends, we are following the constantly evolving laws, rules, regulations, orders and recommendations and have prepared a summary of the recently enacted New York State COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave laws – as of the evening of March 19, 2020. Please bear in mind these laws are constantly evolving and changing, regulations may be enacted, and application and interpretation is not yet known, so what is true this morning, could change by the end of the day. We will do our best to keep you updated. Please feel free to contact us if you wish to discuss.

NYS COVID-19 PAID SICK LEAVE LAW

  • Gov. Cuomo signed the bill on, and it was effective as of, 3/18/2020.
  • This NYS sick leave is in addition to any accrued sick leave offered by employer to which employee is already eligible/entitled.
  • Any paid sick leave payments pursuant to the NYS law are to be paid by the employer.
  • The NYS benefits are concurrent with, and not in addition to, benefits available to an employee pursuant to any federal laws or regulations providing for sick or family leave with respect to Covid- 19, provided that if the NYS benefits are greater than those provided by the federal law, the employee shall be entitled to the difference between the NYS and federal benefits. The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act was also enacted this week and will be effective as of 4/02/2020 (and is addressed in a separate memo).

Employee eligibility:

Applies to an employee who is under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by New York State, the Department of Health, a local Board of Health or any other authorized governmental authority, who cannot work or work remotely for any of the reasons set forth in the next section, subject to the following exclusions:

An employee is not eligible if:

  • the quarantined/isolated employee is asymptomatic or undiagnosed and can work remotely or otherwise work; or
  • the employer voluntarily closed business operations due to Covid -19 or for health concerns (but this could change as mandatory quarantine, business reductions and closures are required).

Benefits to eligible employees: the sick leave benefits are based on the number of employees of the employer as of 1/1/2020 and the net income of the employer.


Employer criteria- private employers

Benefits to Employee

10 or fewer employees and net income less than $1,000,000

  • Unpaid sick leave for duration of quarantine/isolation

  • Access to NYS Paid Family Leave and short term disability benefits/insurance, including wage replacement up to$150,000 -return to job at same position, pay, terms

10 or fewer employees and Net income $1,000,000 or greater, 11-99 employees (no income threshold)

  • At least 5 paid sick days and remainder unpaid for duration of quarantine/isolation

  • Access to NYS Paid Family Leave and short term disability benefits/insurance, including wage replacement up to $150,000

  • return to job at same position, pay, terms

100 or more employees (and public employers)

  • at least 14 paid sick days and remainder unpaid for duration of quarantine/isolation

  • return to job at same position, pay, terms

 

There is an exemption for certain non-business related travel. If the employee traveled to certain countries for non-business purposes for which there was level 2 or 3 health travel notice which was provided to the employee with the restrictions of the new law (so it will not apply to travel prior to 3/18/20). Such an employee will be entitled to use accrued sick days provided by the employer, then unpaid sick leave for the duration of the quarantine/isolation.

An employee shall not be threatened, discharged, penalized, discriminated against or retaliated against or otherwise for taking such leave.

The NYS law expands the definitions of “disability” and “family leave” for workers’ compensation law to include Covid-19 issues. “Disability” for these purposes is an employee’s inability to perform regular duties or other duties assigned by the employer, due to mandatory or precautionary order for quarantine or isolation as previously described in this summary, and the employee has exhausted all of the above Covid-19 sick leave relief, and such disability pay is payable on the first day of disability (no waiting periods). “Family leave” includes an employee subject to mandatory or precautionary order for quarantine or isolation as previously described in this summary, or who has to care for a minor dependent child subject to such mandatory or precautionary order. Disability and family leave benefits can be paid concurrently, as of the first full day of an unpaid period of mandatory or precautionary quarantine/isolation as described above, but are subject to a cap of $840.70 per week for family leave and a cap of $2,043.92 per week for disability (an employee’s disability pay is the difference between the employee’s average weekly pay and family leave benefit, but not more than $2,043.92 per week). There is no waiting period for benefits and the waiting period under the labor law is waived.

The NYS law also provides for new mandatory sick leave (unrelated to Covid-19) requirements which will go into effect 180 days from the date of enactment, but those changes are not address in this summary.

These are the laws as of March 19, 2020, and are subject to change by the moment, and as regulations are promulgated.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions, comments or wish to discuss this by contacting Lynda Goldfarb at LGoldfarb@clmclaw.com or (516) 365-1400 ext. 127.

Stay healthy and well.