On the heels of recent federal and state COVID-19 related paid leave legislation, New York’s enacted budget for FY 2021 includes a broader provision which will amend the New York Labor Law to require all private sector employers to provide a certain amount of unpaid or paid sick leave to be used for specified medical and employee-related reasons. The new law goes into effect on September 30, 2020, and at this time, covered employees will be entitled to begin accruing leave time, but employees may be restricted from utilizing accrued sick leave until January 1, 2021. Public sector employers are not subject to the new paid leave requirements.
For the purpose of counting employees, “calendar year” is defined as the 12-month period from January 1 through and including December 31, but for all other purposes, it means any regular and consecutive 12-month period that an employer designates.
Accrual Requirements: Employees will be eligible to accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked beginning September 30, 2020, or on the employee’s first day of employment, whichever occurs later. However, employers may elect to frontload the total number of required sick leave hours at the beginning of each calendar year.
Permissible Uses of Sick Leave: Upon an employee’s oral or written request to use leave, employers must provide accrued sick leave for the following:
- Mental or physical illness, injury or health condition of an employee or their family member (regardless of whether it has been diagnosed or requires medical care at the time leave is requested);
- Diagnosis, care or treatment of mental or physical illness, injury or health condition of, or need for medical diagnosis of, or preventative care for, employee or their family member;
- When an employee or their family member has been a victim of domestic violence, family offense, sexual offense, stalking or human trafficking, and needs time for any of the following (referred to as “safe leave”):
- Obtaining services from domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center or other services program;
- Participating in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocating or taking other actions to increase safety of employee or their family members;
- Meeting with an attorney or other social services provider to obtain information and advice on, and preparing for or participating in any criminal or civil proceeding;
- Filing complaint or domestic incident report with law enforcement;
- Meeting with a district attorney’s office;
- Enrolling children in a new school;
- Taking any other actions necessary to ensure health or safety of employee or employee’s family member or for protecting those who associate or work with employee