New York State Paid Sick Leave Law Update

Date: December 15, 2020

Employees Eligible to Use Leave Beginning Jan. 1, 2021

As part of the 2020 New York State Budget, the Governor and Legislature enacted a new law requiring employers to provide a certain amount of paid or unpaid sick leave depending on the size of the business.

Employees can begin using the sick leave on Jan. 1, 2021; however, employees were entitled to begin accruing sick time on Sept. 30, 2020. Employees must accrue sick leave at a rate of at least 1 hour for every 30 hours worked. Employers can fulfill their obligations under the law by providing sick leave as a lump sum at the beginning of each calendar year. The New York State Dept. of Labor has released proposed regulations that expand upon the accrual rate for employees. Under the proposed regulations, employee accruals of leave must account for all time worked, regardless of whether time worked is less than a 30-hour increment.

Under the new law:

  • employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income of less than $1 million in the prior tax year must provide employees with up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per year.
  • employers with 5-99 employees and employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income of greater than $1 million in the prior tax year must provide each employee with up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.
  • employers with 100 or more employees must provide up to 56 hours of paid sick leave per year.

The New York State Dept. of Labor’s proposed regulations define employee counts by counting the highest total number of employees concurrently employed at any point during the calendar year to date. Additionally, the proposed regulations require employee counts to include part-time employees and employees jointly employed by more than one employer whether or not they are on the employer’s payroll records.

Employees are permitted to carry-over unused sick time; however, there are caps on the amount of sick leave that can be used each year. Employers who already offer sick leave or some version of paid time off that meets these thresholds could satisfy the sick leave law requirements as long as the policy complies with the rate of accrual and usage.

Additional information on accrual, usage, eligibility, and recordkeeping requirements is available in the Dept. of Labor guidance.

NFIB in New York is submitting comments and concerns on the proposed sick leave regulations issued by the Dept. of Labor and will keep NFIB members informed of any changes to the final regulations.

 

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