NYS Coronavirus Response Legislation: What you need to know

New York State Coronavirus Response Legislation:
What you need to know

On March 18, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed legislation making paid sick leave immediately available to New York State employees affected by COVID-19. The bill also provided amendments to the definition of “disability” and “family leave” pursuant to New York State law, making these benefits more accessible to New York State employees affected by COVID-19. Here is a summary of the legislation which became effective on March 18, 2020:

Job-protected Paid Sick Leave:

• Employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income less than $1 million in the previous tax year:
o Required to provide unpaid, job-protected sick leave to each employee subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the State of New York, the Department of Health, a local board of health, or any governmental entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19.
o Furthermore, these employees shall also be eligible for paid family leave benefits and disability benefits pursuant to this act (as are described and summarized below).
• Employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income of more than $1 million in the previous tax year, and employers with 11-99 employees:
o Required to provide at least 5 days of job-protected sick leave for each employee who is subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the State of New York, the Department of Health, a local board of health or any governmental entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19.
o After the five days have been used, an employee subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation may be eligible for a combination of Paid Family Leave and disability benefits pursuant to this act (as are described and summarized below).
• Employers employee more than 100 employees:
o Required to provide at least 14 days of job-protected paid sick leave for each employee who is subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the State of New York, the Department of Health, a local board of health or any governmental entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19.
o After such the fourteen days of paid sick leave, an employee may be eligible for Paid Family Leave benefits and disability benefits due pursuant to this act (as are described and summarized below).

Exception to the above job-protected sick leave and benefits:

• The provisions of the act signed by Governor Cuomo shall not apply in if the employee is not symptomatic or has not yet been diagnosed with any medical condition and is physically able to work while under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation whether it be through remote access or other similar means.

• An employee shall also not be eligible for paid sick leave or any other benefits provided pursuant to this Act if the employee is subject to mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine because the employee has returned to the U.S. after traveling to a country for which the CDC has a level two or three travel health notice and the travel to that country was not taken as part of the employee’s employment or at the direction of the employer. Such employee shall be entitled to use any accrued benefits provided by the employer. If the employee has none, the employer shall provide unpaid sick leave for the duration of the mandatory or precautionary quaratine or isolation order.

Expansion of Benefits under Article 9 of the Workers’ Compensation Law:

This legislation expanded definitions of “disability” and “family leave” under Article 9 of the Workers’ Compensation Law as follows:

“Disability” shall mean:
• Any inability of an employee to perform the regular duties of his or her employment or the duties of any other employment which his or her employer may offer him or her as a result of a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the State, the Department of Health, a local board of health, or any government entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19 and when the employee has exhausted all paid sick leave provided by the employee’s employer under this act.

“Family leave” shall mean:
• Any leave taken by an employee from work when an employee is subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the State, the Department of Health, a local board of health or any government entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19; or
• To provide care for a minor dependent child of the employee who is subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the State, the Department of Health, a local board of health, or any government entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19.

**Significantly, the Act provides that the issuance of a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation by the State, the Department of Health or any government entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19 shall be sufficient proof of disability or need for family leave taken pursuant to this act.

The full text of the legislation can be found by clicking here: https://legislation.nysenate.gov/pdf/bills/2019/S8090

For more information on applying for Paid Family Leave and Disability Benefits, click here: https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/COVID19

 

 

 

 

Erin M. Tyreman

For more information contact Erin M. Tyreman.