New York’s Sick Leave Law

Sick LeaveNew York employers will soon be required to provide employees accrued sick leave. The New York Sick Leave Law is scheduled to take effect September 30, 2020. Employees, however, will not be entitled to use the sick leave until January 1, 2021.

The amount of paid or unpaid sick leave will depend on the employer’s size and net income as follows:

  • Employers with four or fewer employees in any calendar year with a net income up to $1 million in the previous tax year will have to provide employees with up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave in each calendar year;
  • Employers with four or fewer employees in any calendar year with a net income greater than $1 million in the previous tax year will have to provide employees with up to 40 hours of paid sick leave in each calendar year;
  • Employers with between five and 99 employees in any calendar year, regardless of income, will have to provide employees with up to 40 hours of paid sick leave each calendar year; and
  • Employers with 100 or more employees in any calendar year will have to provide employees with up to 56 hours of paid sick leave each calendar year.

For purposes of determining the number of employees, a calendar year means the 12-month period from January 1 through December 31, or a regular and consecutive 12-month period, as determined by the employer.

Covered employees must accrue sick leave at a rate of not less than one hour per every thirty hours worked, beginning at the commencement of employment or the effective date of the law, whichever is later. Employers may front load the total amount sick leave at the beginning of the calendar year, but only if the available amount of sick leave based on the number of hours worked by the employee is not reduced. Any unused accrued sick leave can be carried over to the following year. An employer with fewer than 100 employees may limit the use of sick leave to 40 hours per calendar year. An employer with 100 or more employees may limit the use of sick leave to 56 hours per calendar year. Employers are not required to pay an employee for unused sick leave upon such employee’s termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment.

Sick leave may be used for the following reasons:

  • Mental of physical illness, injury or health condition of the employee or the employee’s family member, regardless of whether the illness, injury or health condition has been diagnosed or requires medical care at the time the employee requests leave;
  • For the diagnosis, care or treatment of a mental physical illness, injury or health condition of, or the need for medical diagnosis of or preventative care for, the employee or the employee’s family member;
  • An absence from work when the employee or their family member has been the victim of domestic violence, a family offense, sexual offense, stalking or human trafficking for any of the following reasons:
    • 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 their family members;
    • To meet with an attorney or other social services provider to obtain information and advice and prepare for or participate in any criminal or civil proceeding;
    • To file a complaint or 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.

A family member is defined as “an employee’s child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, grandchild or grandparent; and the child or parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner.”

Employers are required to keep track of the amount of sick leave provided to employees. This information must be kept for at least six years, together with other information that an employer is required to keep and maintain as part of its payroll records. Employers are prohibited from discharging, threatening, penalizing, or in any other manner discriminating or retaliating against any employee because the employee exercised his or her rights under this new sick leave.

A city with a population of one million or more is not prevented from enacting and enforcing local laws or ordinances which meet or exceed the standard or requirements for minimum hour and use set forth in the sick leave law. Currently, Westchester County and New York City have mandatory sick leave requirements in place. The Commissioner is expected to adopt regulations and issue guidance prior to the law’s effective date.

CPC will continue to track this new legislation. Make sure to visit out blog soon for the latest updated.

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