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New York State Paid Sick Leave Law

By Lisa Calick

All New York State employers will soon need to abide by a new paid sick leave law, which takes effect on September 30, 2020.  Whereas local jurisdictions such as New York City and Westchester County have existing paid sick leave laws in effect, there was previously no statewide mandate.

The amount of sick time provided will vary based on the employer’s size and net income from the previous tax year:

  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees, and a net income of $1 million or less, will need to provide 40 hours of unpaid sick leave.
  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees, and a net income of greater than $1 million, AND employers with 5-99 employees, will need to provide 40 hours of paid sick leave.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees will be required to provide 56 hours of paid sick leave.

Employees must begin to accrue sick leave beginning September 30, 2020 (or upon hire if later) at a rate of 1 hour per 30 hours worked, however they may not use any accrued time until January 1, 2021.  Companies will also have the option to frontload all sick leave hours at the start of the year.

Employees must be allowed to carry over unused sick time at the end of the year, however employers may limit the number of hours available to use in any given calendar year to either 40 or 56 days, depending on company size and income.  There is no requirement to pay out any unused sick time upon termination of employment.

Employees may use sick leave for the following reasons:

  • A mental or physical illness, injury or health condition of the employee or family member;
  • The diagnosis, care, treatment, or preventive care of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition of the employee or family member; or
  • An absence related to the employee’s or family member’s status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual offense, family offense, stalking, or human trafficking.

For the purpose of this law, a ‘family member’ is defined as the employee’s child, spouse or domestic partner, parent, sibling, grandchild or grandparent, and the child or parent of the employee’s spouse or domestic partner.

Employers may not retaliate against any employee for requesting or using sick leave.  Employers are also prohibited from requiring the disclosure of confidential medical information pertaining to sick leave.

Employers should review their existing paid leave policies to ensure that they meet the requirements of this new law.  Companies that are also subject to other local sick leave laws must ensure that their policies comply with all applicable laws, and that their employees receive the more generous benefits under both laws.

Need clarity on New York's new paid sick leave law? Reach out to our expert.

Lisa Calick, New York State, Paid Leave, Sick Leave

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