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Governor Cuomo Passes New Emergency Paid Leave for COVID-19

3/19/20 – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill Wednesday, adopting sick leave programs providing paid time off for employees impacted by COVID-19 . You can view the bill HERE.

 Emergency paid sick leave for an employee under a order of quarantine or isolation issued by the state of New York, the Department of Health, local board of health, or any government entity authorized to issue such an order due to COVID-19. These provisions are effective immediately. In this case, employers of 99 or less will be obligated to:

  • Notify employees of the availability of leave as described below;
  • To provide job protected leave as described below;
  • Provide documents required for that employee to apply for Paid Family Leave (PFL) and New York State Short Term Disability (DBL);
  • Employers of 100 or more only need to provide paid sick leave as required.

Provisions of the bill include:

  • Employers of 10 or fewer as of January 1, 2020 must provide unpaid sick time during an employee’s period of ordered quarantine or isolation, except those employers with net income of more than $1 million, which must provide five days of paid sick leave;
  • Employers of 11 to 99 must provide five days of paid sick leave;
  • Employers of 100 or more must provide up to fourteen days of paid sick leave;
  • Public employers must provide at least fourteen days of paid sick leave;
  • Benefits would not be available to employees deemed asymptomatic or not yet diagnosed with any medical condition and is physically able to work, through remote access or other means.

This leave is job protected but employees are not eligible to use this leave if the employee is returning from personal travel to one of the locations on the CDC travel advisory list. These employees would be able to use any available leave time or unpaid sick leave for the duration of the quarantine.

For employers of 99 employees or less, should an employee’s period of quarantine or isolation extend beyond available sick time, the employee would be able to apply for Paid Family Leave (PFL) and New York State Short Term Disability (DBL) concurrently. Benefit amounts would be a combination of payments from PFL and from DBL up to 100% of an employee’s average weekly wage for those employees earning up to $150,000 per year.

Additionally, there is no waiting period for the commencement of DBL payments under these circumstances. PFL benefits may also be used to care for a dependent minor child under such a mandatory quarantine of isolation order; this provision does not apply in cases where the child’s school is closed and requires daycare.