On September 30, 2020, the New York State Sick Leave Law went into effect, requiring qualifying employees to accrue sick leave that can be used starting January 1, 2021. The sick leave will be available to use for absences related to an employee’s illness or medical needs or a covered family member’s illness or medical needs, as well as absences related to domestic violence, a family offense, sexual offense, stalking or human trafficking. Covered family members include an employee’s child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, grandchild or grandparent or the child or parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner.

The amount of unpaid or paid sick leave that will be available for an employee under the NYS Sick Leave Law depends on employer size and income.

Employer Size & IncomeNew York State Leave Benefits
4 employees or less and a net income less than $1 million in the previous tax year40 hours of unpaid sick leave
4 employees or less and a net income more than $1 million in the previous tax year40 hours of paid sick leave
99 employees or less40 hours of paid sick leave
100 employees or more56 hours of paid sick leave

The NYS Sick Leave Law requires an employee’s sick leave to accrue at a minimum rate of one hour for every thirty hours worked. If, as an employee, you are unsure of how much sick leave time you are accruing under the NYS Sick Leave Law, you have the right to request a report of your current accrued sick leave and your employer must provide it to you within three days of your request. Alternatively, your employer may forego the accrual method and instead provide the total required hours up front at the beginning of the new year. Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement may have sick leave different than that provided under the NYS Sick Leave Law.

In response to the NYS Sick Leave Law, the New York City Council passed a bill to align the NYC Earned Safe and Sick Time Act with the NYS Sick Leave Law. NYC’s amended sick leave law requires NYC employers to provide the same benefits to their employees as required by the NYS Sick Leave Law effective September 30, 2020. Going a step further, however, the NYC law also requires the accrued sick leave to be noted on an employee’s paystub.

As mentioned in earlier LR What You Need to Know Now articles, which can be found here and here, New York State also previously implemented additional leave benefits for certain employees facing isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19.
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