New York Passes Paid Sick Leave and Clarifies NY PFL

New York has enacted a new paid sick and save leave law, effective September 30, and has amended the regulatory definition of serious health condition for New York Paid Family Leave (NY PFL) law to clarify that an employee can receive NY PFL benefits for caring for a family member with COVID-19, effective immediately. 

New York Paid Sick Leave 

On Friday, April 3rd, Governor Cuomo signed into law a state-wide paid sick and safe leave law, with accruals beginning September 30, 2020 and paid sick leave usage available on January 2, 2021. The new law requires all New York employers to provide paid sick leave with the amount dependant on the employer’s size: 

Employers with 100 or more employees in any calendar year must provide employees with at least 56 hours of paid      sick leave each calendar year. 

Employers with 5 to 99 employees in any calendar year must provide employees at least 40 hours of paid sick leave each calendar year. 

Employers with four or fewer and a net income of more $1 million or more employees in a calendar year must provide employees at least 40 hours of paid sick leave each calendar year 

Employers with four or fewer and a net income of less than $1 million employees in a calendar year must provide employees at least 40 hours of unpaid sick leave each calendar year. 

Regulations will be forthcoming to provide further details, including but not limited to: 

  • the mechanism for accrual or if carryover is required when frontloading the leave; 
  • the calculation for payment of the paid sick leave; and 
  • employee eligibility.  

New York Amends PFL Definition of Serious Health Condition 

On March 27, the New York Workers’ Compensation Board, the agency that administers NY PFL, adopted an amendment to clarify that employees may take family leave to care for a family member diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus. For now, the new rule is effective through June 25, 2020. The amendment, updating the definition of a serious health condition contained in section 355.9 of Title 12 NYCRR, means that an eligible employee may receive NY PFL benefits to care for a family member with who has been diagnosed by a health care provider with COVID-19. Recent previous changes to NY PFL allowed an employee to claim benefits related to COVID-19 when the employee or employee’s minor dependent child who is subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation due to the illness. The March 27th change makes it clear that a family member’s COVID-19 illness is also covered. 

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