NYS Paid Sick Leave Law Now In Effect; NYC Aligns City Sick and Safe Leave Provisions 

Situation Report | October 5, 2020

New York’s Paid Sick Leave Act took effect September 30, 2020. Governor Cuomo approved the new law as part of the final enacted New York State Budget in April 2020. Employees, however, may not access the new leave benefits until January 1, 2021.

The new state leave law guarantees sick leave benefits for the majority of workers throughout the state. All full and part-time private employers, based upon size, must provide employees with up to 40-56 hours of sick leave annually as follows:

  • Employers with four or fewer employees and a net income of $1 million or less must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time.
  • Employers with four or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick time.
  • Employers with five to 99 employees must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick time, regardless of the company’s net income.
  • Employers with 100 or more workers must provide up to 56 hours of paid sick time.

Under the new law, employers must track an employee’s accrual and use of time and maintain the information with other required payroll records for six years. Additionally, employers must respond to a request for leave from an employee within three business days, as well as provide an employee with his or her current or prior calendar year accrued and used sick leave.

Leave will accrue at a rate of one hour of every 30 hours worked, unless an employer elects to frontload all sick time at the beginning of the year. Employers may set a reasonable minimum increment for use, which cannot exceed four hours.

Employers should note that paid time off or “PTO” does count as sick time and can also be used as vacation time.

In addition to the state’s law taking effect, New York City’s Sick and Safe Time Law was also amended to align more closely with the state’s provisions. Employees must be informed of the new NYC Law by October 30. Employers that qualify as part of this new law have until January 1, 2021 to implement the new law.

Under the amendments, employers with 100 or more employees must provide 56 hours annually of paid leave annually (up from 40) while some smaller employers (four or fewer employees) must provide paid leave to employees if the employer had a net income of $1 million or more in the previous tax year. NYC employers are now also required to report accruals and balances on employees’ pay statements (or via another written communication each pay period).

The amendments also: dissolve the 80-hour threshold to be eligible for sick and safe leave; require employers to reimburse for documentation fees; expand retaliation and enforcement provisions; and expand the definition of “domestic worker,” eliminating distinctions between the rights of domestic workers and other employees.

As for the state’s leave law, it is expected that the New York State Department of Labor will issue guidance on the new law in the near future.

HCA will provide updates to members as more information is made available. For questions, please contact Alyssa Lovelace.