By: Cristina N. Hyde, JD
Last April, New York State took steps to permanently bolster existing paid leave laws in recognition of the crises caused by COVID-19 and in anticipation of future public health emergencies. Senate Bill S7506B, which took effect on September 30, 2020, included modifications to New York’s Labor Law; establishing specific leave requirements for employees. Pursuant to the amendments, covered employees began to accrue leave on September 30, 2020, at a rate of one hour for every thirty hours worked. As of January 1, 2021, covered employees may begin to use accrued leave.
Highlights of the amended legislation include:
- Leave requirements shall be calculated with consideration to the size and net income of the employer.
- Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income of $1,000,000 or less in the prior tax year shall provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per calendar year.
- Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1,000,000 in the prior tax year shall provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.
- Employers with between 5 and 99 employees are required to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.
- Employers with 100 or more employees shall provide up to 56 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.
- An employer may choose to provide employees with the entire amount of leave at the beginning of the calendar year; however they may not rescind leave for hours not ultimately worked.
- Employees may use leave to care for themselves or a family member.
- An employer may not require an employee to work from home or telecommute instead of taking sick leave. However, an employer may offer the option so that said employee would retain the leave that they have accrued.