NY State Paid Sick Leave Law Takes Effect September 30

Thursday, September 24, 2020

As previously reported, the New York State Paid Sick Leave Act comes into effect and insured workers will begin the vacation period on September 30, 2020. However, employees may not be able to claim accrued sick leave by January 1, 2021.

As stated in our previous blog:

  • Employer with 4 or fewer employees and a net income of less than $ 1 million in the pre-tax year, employees must have up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave.
  • Employer with between 5 and 99 employees and employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income of more than $ 1 million in the previous tax year, each employee must have up to 40 hours paid sick leave per year.
  • Employer with 100 or more employees will be up to 56 hours paid sick leave per year.

Employees must be on sick leave for at least 1 hour for every 30 hours they work (this is also the accrual rate set out in New York’s Safe and Sick Time Earned Act and Westchester County’s Earned Sick Leave Act). Alternatively, employers can meet their legal obligation by providing the full amount of sick leave in a lump sum at the beginning of each year.

The law does not contain – and therefore leaves them unanswered – critical questions including (i) how to determine the size of the employer (ie on a state or national basis); (ii) whether carry-over obligations continue to apply to employers who choose to pre-charge sick leave rather than deferred; and (iii) whether it is permissible to obtain a medical certificate in support of vacation needs (while New York City and Westchester Counties permit if a worker’s absence exceeds three consecutive business days, state law does not regulated). . The New York Department of Labor is expected to issue regulations and guidelines relating to the law, although no such guidelines were available at the time of this publication.

As noted above, employers are not required to allow workers to take accrued sick leave until January 1st. Still, New York state employers should review their existing policies and train relevant personnel now to ensure the new law is being followed before it goes into effect. We will continue to monitor and report on all further developments, including any government issued guidance.

© 2020 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume X, Number 268

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