On April 3, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed into law New York’s Paid Sick Leave law. The law provides guaranteed paid sick leave to many of New York’s workers. Today’s Long Island employment law blog discusses the provisions of this new law.
The law provides that employees can accrue sick leave time based on hours worked. How many hours employees can accrue and whether the time is paid or unpaid varies on several factors, but regardless of these factors, employees earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Accrual begins on the effective date of the law (10/1/20), or upon employment, whichever is later. Accruals and requirements to pay for the sick time are broken down as follows:
- Employers with 4 or less employees (in a calendar year) with net income of one million dollars or less, must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave each calendar year;
- Employers with 4 or less employees with net income of more than one million dollars must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave each calendar year;
- Employers with 100 or more employees must up to 56 hours of paid sick leave.
Employers are free to provide additional sick leave time above and beyond what the law requires.
For purposes of accrual, employers can choose to provide the full amount of required sick leave at the beginning of each year, but employers cannot then reduce or revoke the time if the employee does not work enough hours to have otherwise earned the leave allotted. But, leave accrued starting on October 1st cannot be used until January 1, 2021.
The law defines the reasons why an employee may be entitled to use the leave:
- Illness, injury, or a health condition, whether mental or physical, and whether the employee has the condition, or the employee’s family member. No diagnosis or medical treatment is required to fulfill this provision.
- For diagnosis, care or treatment of illness, injury, or a health condition, including preventative care.
- If an employee or employee’s family is a victim of a family offense, sex offense, stalking, or human trafficking (exempting anyone who has committed the offense, regardless of relationship):
- to receive services from a shelter, crisis center, or other program
- for safety planning or relocation
- to obtain legal or social services or to participate in legal proceeding, criminal or civil
- to file a complaint or report with law enforcement
- to meet with a district attorney
- to enroll children in a new school
- to take other action necessary for health, safety, or protection
Family member is defined broadly to include children, partners, spouses, grandchildren/parents, and children or parents of a spouse or domestic partner.
Employers can set incremental uses of the leave, not to exceed four hours.
Employees must be allowed to carry over unused sick leave to the next calendar year, again depending on employer size. Employers with less than 100 employees can limit employees to using 40 hours of leave per year and employers with 100 or more employees can limit leave to 56 hours per year.
The leave law expands discrimination and retaliation protection for employees, as well. Employers may not retaliate or discriminate against employees who use or request sick leave. The law acts like the FMLA in that it requires that employees be returned their same position held prior to taking leave.
This blog is merely a summary of the law’s requirements. Before enacting a sick leave policy, employers should consult an experienced employment law, such as the lawyers at Famighetti & Weinick PLLC, to ensure the policy complies with any and all laws.
Employees with questions about New York’s should similarly consult with us or visit our website for more information. Our Long Island employment lawyers are available at 631-352-0050 or on the web at http://linycemploymentlaw.com.