New York State Paid Sick Leave Law 

A new law that Employers, Human Resources, Payroll Departments and Employees need to know.

On April 3rd, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed legislation enacting the New York State Paid Sick Leave Law. That announcement faded to the background with the rise of COVID-19 and all of its related laws, rules and regulations. Here are the key components of the New York State Paid Sick Leave Law:

Effective Dates:

The law went into effect on September 30th, 2020.

Employees will be able to start using these sick leave days beginning on January 1st, 2021.

Amount & Type of Sick Leave:

Sick leave amounts and types that an employee will receive depend upon the size and revenue of the employer:

  1. If the employer has 0 to 4 employees, and the net income of the employer is $1 million or less, the employer is required to provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per calendar year;
  2. If the employer has 0 to 4 employees, and the net income of the employer exceeds $1 million, the employer is required to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year;
  3. If the employer has 5 to 99 employees, the employer must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year;
  4. If the employer has 100 or more employees, the employer must provide up 56 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year. 

Eligibility:

This law applies to all employees.  An employee is defined as “any person employed for hire by an employer in any employment”.  This is a very broad definition and includes full-time staff, part-time staff, seasonal, temporary and per-diem employees. 

All private sector employees in New York State are covered, regardless of industry or occupation. This includes employees of charter schools, private schools and not for profit organizations   

It does not cover Federal, State and Local Government employees. 

Permitted Uses:

New York State Paid Sick Leave Law has the following permitted uses:

Sick leave may be used for mental or physical illness, injury or health condition, regardless of whether it has been diagnosed or requires medical care at the time of the request for sick leave.  Sick leave may also be used for the diagnosis, care or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition, or the need for medical diagnosis or preventative care.

Safe leave may be used when the employee or employee’s family member has been the victim of domestic violence, family offense, sexual offense, stalking or human trafficking. 

Accrual of Leave:

Employees began accruing leave on September 30th, 2020.  Leave must be accrued at a rate of not less than one hour for every thirty hours worked.

Employers may elect to frontload for the employee the full amount of the sick leave at the beginning of the calendar year.

Other Noteworthy Items:

Employers may require that leave be used in increments, but may not set the minimum increment at more than four hours.  

Employees must be paid their normal rate of pay for any paid leave time taken under this law or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is greater.  

There cannot be any retaliation against any employee for exercising their rights to use their accrued sick time. 

Payroll records must be kept for six years and they must include the amount of sick leave accrued and used by each employee on a weekly basis.  Upon the request of an employee, employers are required to provide, within three business days, a summary of the amounts of sick leave accrued and used by an employee.  

Conclusion:

The above is a broad summary of the New York State Paid Sick Leave Law which impacts both employers and employees.  Further direction from New York State is anticipated in the near future from the Department of Labor.

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