COVID-19 New York’s Paid Family Leave Response

In response to the Coronavirus Governor Andrew Cuomo has enacted a bill that will provide employees with guaranteed sick leave and job protection should they need to take time from work due to necessary quarantine. The bill will expand upon New York’s Paid Family Leave and New York statutory disability benefits.

Sick leave covered under this new bill would be in addition to any sick leave an employee has already accrued in their position. Employers are also required to restore employees to the same position prior to their leave, with the same pay and conditions of employment. Employers are also prohibited from discriminating against employees for taking the necessary leave.

Employees under mandated or precautionary quarantine or isolation due to the Coronavirus will be protected in the following ways;

  • Employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income of less than $1 million in 2019 are required to provide unpaid sick leave to employees. Employees are also  eligible for NY Paid Family Leave and statutory disability benefits during the quarantine period.
  • Employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million in 2019 and employers with 11-99 employees will be required to provide 5 days of job-protected paid sick leave, followed by unpaid leave until the end of the isolation period. After the 5 days employees will also be eligible for NY Paid Family Leave and statutory disability benefits during the quarantine period.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees and certain public employers regardless of size, will be required to provide at least 14 days of job protected paid sick leave.

Workers who are asymptomatic or not officially diagnosed with any medical condition while in quarantine and are physically able to work remotely or by other means will not be eligible under the new bill. In addition, employees who are quarantined due to travelling out of the country for non-business purposes to a country labeled by the CDC as a level two or three Coronavirus travel advisory prior to travelling are not eligible, as long as they were aware of the advisory. Employees in that situation should use their accrued sick time or if none is available, unpaid sick leave until their isolation period is completed. Under the bill New York Paid Family Leave benefits will be made available to employees who need to take time for their own isolation or take care of a dependent under isolation. Paid family leave would provide up to 60% of an employees’ salary, with a cap of $840.70 per week.

New York State Disability Benefits will also simultaneously be available to employees as of the first unpaid day of their leave, where the employee is no longer able to perform the duties of their position or any other position the employer could offer. These benefits would be the difference between the weekly paid family leave and the employee’s total average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $2,043.92. The bill also states that if the federal government enacts its own provisions, the benefits provided under this bill will provide benefits in excess of what the federal legislation would provide.

New York State Paid Family Sick Leave official website has set up an F&Q that covers the benefits, eligibility, how to apply, disputes, complaints and how to obtain a quarantine order necessary to obtain the benefits.