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New York State Paid Sick Leave Changes Begin

Nov 10, 2020

Behind the noise of Covid-19 and the presidential election new sick leave laws went in to effect for New York State on September 30, 2020.  So, what does this mean for employers?

Employers in New York State will now be required to give all employees sick leave.  This now includes the often-previously excluded part-time employee. Whether or not this sick leave is paid or unpaid varies on different metrics as well as how many hours an employer must provide in a calendar year:

  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees, and net income of less than $1 million in the previous tax year, must provide up to 40 hours (5 days) of unpaid sick leave each year.
  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees, and net income of more than $1 million in the previous tax year, must provide up to 40 hours (5 days) of paid sick leave each year.
  • Employers with 5 to 99 employees must provide at least 40 hours (5 days) of paid sick leave each year.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees must provide at least 56 hours (7 days) of paid sick leave each year.

While head count to determine the number of employees a company has runs January – December the accrual of sick leave for employees will follow their company’s fiscal year.  The new law requires New York employers allow carry over of sick hours but they may set a cap.  Records on sick leave must be kept on file for six years. 

Employers should be prepared for employees to use sick time to cover their own illnesses as well as their immediately family member’s.  The numerous valid reason for an employee to use sick leave can be found under the “Permitted Uses” section of the New York State Paid Sick Leave FAQ sheet.

The official and current information on paid sick leave is located online at the New York State Government website. Keep in mind that the state should be issuing proposed regulations on determining employer size, net income, and also documentation requests.