New York Enacts Broad Paid Sick Leave, Job Protection Law to Combat Crisis
Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor
March 25, 2020
Motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic, New York state has enacted a broad mandatory paid sick leave law that also provides job protections for employees during the crisis. The comprehensive law's job protection provisions apply to all employers, though the paid leave provisions vary depending on an employer's size.
"No New Yorker should lose their job or income for following a critical public health order," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo upon signing the law, which aims to protect workers quarantined as a result of the coronavirus.
To address the immediate need of employees affected by COVID-19 who are subject to mandatory or precautionary quarantine or isolation orders, the Governor's legislation provides the following protections:
- Employers with 100 or more employees, as well as all public employers, must provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave and guarantee job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.
- Employers with 11-99 employees and those with 10 or fewer employers and a net income of more than $1 million must provide at least five days of paid sick leave, job protection throughout the quarantine order and guarantee workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits for the quarantine period, including wage replacement for salaries up to $150,000.
- Employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income below $1 million must provide job protection throughout the quarantine order and guarantee workers similar access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits plus wage replacement for salaries up to $150,000.
In addition, leave provided during this crisis period cannot reduce an employee's accrued sick leave. And, the New York law covers far more employees than the recently-enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The law took effect immediately upon its signing last week.
New York follows Colorado, which also enacted a COVID-19 relief law that includes paid leave. Colorado's emergency rules require employers in certain industries to provide a small amount of paid sick leave to employees with flu-like symptoms who are awaiting testing for the coronavirus.