What’s the Deal With the New York Sick Leave Law?

Depending on your state, you may have to provide paid sick leave to your employees. As an employer, you should know the paid sick leave laws by state to ensure you remain compliant. One state that recently joined the bunch is New York. If you’re an NY employer, giddy-up and learn all about the New York sick leave law.

New York sick leave law overview

The New York sick leave law, an expansion of the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, went into effect on September 30, 2020. With the law, eligible employers must provide sick leave to employees.

Unlike some other laws passed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York state sick leave law expansion is here to stay. It is permanent, not temporary.

The NY sick leave law is not the same as New York Paid Family Leave (NY PFL). The NY PFL provides paid time off to employees for family- or medical-related life events (e.g., to bond with a new child). The NY state sick leave law is also separate from the New York State Quarantine Leave Law, which went into effect on March 18, 2020.

when the new york sick leave law goes into effect

NY paid sick leave law Q&As

Curious about what the new New York paid sick leave law entails? You’ve come to the right place. Check out our handy dandy Q&As below to learn the ins and outs of the new sick leave law.

Who must provide sick leave?

All private-sector New York employers must follow the paid sick leave law.

How much sick leave must NY employers provide?

The amount of paid sick leave New York employers must provide to employees depends on the business’s workforce size and income.

Here’s a breakdown of how much employers can provide in paid sick leave per calendar year (January 1 – December 31):

  • Less than five employees and a net income in excess of $1 million in the previous tax year: 40 hours of paid sick leave
  • 5 – 99 employees: 40 hours of paid sick leave
  • 100+ employees: up to 56 hours of paid sick leave

Employers with less than five employees and a net income of $1 million or less in the previous tax year must provide employees with 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per calendar year.

What is the accrual rate?

Employees can accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

Employers can opt to give employees a lump sum of paid sick leave hours at the beginning of the year (e.g., 40 hours). However, an employer who chooses to frontload leave cannot reduce the amount of leave later on if the employee does not work sufficient hours.

Which employees are eligible to use the NY paid sick leave?

Employees can’t use paid sick leave for just any reason. An employee can use NY paid sick leave if they or a family member is impacted by one of these reasons:

  • Mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition
  • Diagnosis, care, and treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition
  • Dealing with being the victim of domestic violence, a family offense, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking

Employers cannot require employees to disclose confidential information while verifying the need for paid sick leave (e.g., info relating to a health condition).

Who is considered to be a family member?

Covered family members include:

  • Child
  • Spouse
  • Domestic partner
  • Parent
  • Sibling
  • Grandchild
  • Grandparent
  • Child or parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner

Can employees carry over sick leave hours?

Employers must let employees carry over unused paid sick leave. New York state has not yet announced whether or not there will be a cap on carryover hours.

What happens to accrued sick leave if the employee leaves?

Nothing in the law requires you to pay employees for unused accrued sick leave if they voluntarily or involuntarily leave the company.

When can employees begin using sick leave?

Although the law went into effect on September 30, 2020, employees cannot use accrued sick leave until January 1, 2021.

What kind of paid sick leave records do employers need to keep?

As an employer, you need to track the amount of sick leave you provide to each employee and keep a record of it.

Keep records of:

  • Employees you provided paid sick leave to
  • How many sick leave hours they accrued during the calendar year
  • How many sick leave hours they carried over, if applicable
  • If and when they used paid sick leave

If an employee requests sick leave documentation, you have three business days to provide a summary of the amount of their accrued and used sick leave.

Implementing New York state paid sick leave

Follow the steps below to make implementing and tracking New York state sick leave a breeze:

  1. Know the state sick leave rules inside and out
  2. Find a way to track and accrue hours for employees (e.g., utilize time and attendance software)
  3. Inform employees about the law, how much they can accrue, and what they can use leave for
  4. Include details of the New York sick leave law in your employee handbook
  5. Keep a record of accrued and used paid sick leave for each employee
    Stay up-to-date on the NY sick leave law in case rules change

Looking for a way to record how many sick leave days your employees accrue and use? Patriot’s online time and attendance software is an awesome add-on to our payroll software and makes tracking sick leave a breeze. Give them a go for free today!

This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.

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