As we previously reported, among the sweeping pieces of legislation signed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was New York State’s permanent sick leave law (“NYSPSL”). Under NYSPSL, all New York State employers are required to provide sick leave. Eligible employees may begin accruing sick leave as of September 30, 2020, but are not entitled to use any accrued sick leave pursuant to this law until January 1, 2021.
As explained in our previous blog, the amount of sick leave under NYSPSL is determined by an employer’s size and net income in a given calendar year:
- Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income less than $1 million must provide at least 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per calendar year.
- Employers with 5-99 employees and employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million must provide at least 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.
- Employers with 100 or more employees must provide at least 56 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.
Beginning on September 30, 2020 (or upon hire if after this date), eligible employees may begin accruing sick leave at a rate of at least 1 hour for every 30 hours worked. Alternatively, employers may elect to frontload the total amount of sick leave at the beginning of the calendar year.
We expect the New York Department of Labor to issue regulations or guidance concerning NYSPSL in the coming weeks. Guidance will be of particular importance to employers in New York City and Westchester County, who will need to ensure compliance with existing obligations under local laws, in addition to obligations under NYSPSL. Importantly, employers in New York City should note the passage of a bill aimed at aligning the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (ESSTA) with NYSPSL. This law also takes effect on September 30, 2020. Additionally, it is important to note that NYSPSL is separate and distinct from the New York State COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Law, which went into effect on March 18, 2020. It is unclear how these laws will interact.
Employers should review and update their existing handbooks, policies, and procedures to ensure compliance with NYSPSL and other recently enacted leave laws. With the increasing number of local employment-related ordinances, legal compliance is becoming increasingly complex. Employers should reach out to their counsel for solutions and recommendations.
We will continue to provide employers with updates on implementation as more information develops.
*Jamie Moelis is a law clerk with Sheppard Mullin.