In response to the growing COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation to protect workers in COVID-19-related isolation and quarantine. This emergency legislation mandates sick, disability, and paid family leave for employees in government-ordered isolation or quarantine.
The COVID-19 sick leave, is separate from any accrued sick-leave which an employee may already have. An employee’s job and all terms and conditions of employment are protected after they return from sick leave.
The amount and type of sick leave varies by employer size. An employer with ten or fewer employees needs to give employees unpaid sick leave through the duration of the isolation or quarantine. If an employer has ten or fewer employees and profits of $1 million in the prior tax year, they must provide five days of paid sick leave. Employers who have between 11 and 99 employees must also give any employee who is ordered to isolate or quarantine five days of paid leave. For large employers of 100+ employees or public employers, all employees must be given 14 days of paid sick leave if ordered to isolate or quarantine.
All employees regardless of employer size qualify for COVID-19-related paid family or temporary disability leave when any paid sick leave runs out. COVID-19 family leave can be taken by an employee who is ordered to quarantine or isolate or needs to provide care for a minor dependent child who is ordered to do the same. The amount of the benefit maxes out at $840.70 per week.
COVID-19 disability leave can be used when an employee is unable to do their job while under a government-issued quarantine or isolation order. The amount of this benefit is calculated by subtracting the max amount of the paid family leave benefit from the employee’s total weekly wage. This number maxes out at $2,043.92 per week.
These types of COVID-19 related leave cannot be used by employees who are asymptomatic or not yet diagnosed but can work remotely while under a precautionary order of quarantine or isolation. Also, an employee who is ordered to isolate after they travel, for personal reasons, to a country with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Level 2 or 3 travel health notice is not eligible for paid leave. In this situation, the employee can only use unpaid sick leave.
This legislation aims to curb the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its effects on workers.