New York Governor signs Emergency Paid Quarantine Leave for COVID-19 into Law

by Marti Cardi, Esq – Vice President Product Compliance

March 19, 2020

 

On March 18, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed emergency legislation guaranteeing job protection and pay for employees affected by COVID-19 who are subject to mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation. Oh, by the way it’s effective NOW!

Here are the specifics: 

  • Employers are required to provide sick leave for absences due to
    a COVID-19-related mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine
    or isolation issued by the state of New York, the department of
    health, local board of health, or any governmental entity duly
    authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19. An order from a
    medical provider to stay home or in quarantine will not suffice.
    The amount and duration of sick leave varies according to the
    employer’s size and net income:

    • Employers with 10 or fewer employees: unpaid leave for the duration
      of the quarantine.
    • Employers with 10 or fewer employees and net income greater than
      $1 million: 5 days of paid leave, plus unpaid leave for the duration of the quarantine.
    • Employers with 11-99 employees: 5 days of paid leave, plus unpaid leave for the duration of the
      quarantine.
    • Employers with 100 or more employees: 14 days of paid leave (no reference to unpaid leave for
      the duration of a quarantine).
  • Within the first three categories of employers (those with 1-99 employees), the employee can apply for New York
    disability and paid family leave (PFL) benefits after using the mandated paid leave. The waiting period is waived.
  • This paid sick leave must be provided without loss of an employee’s other accrued sick leave.
  • The definition of “disability” for purposes of disability benefits is expanded to include the inability of the
    employee to perform the duties of his/her position or other offered position due to an order of quarantine
    relating to COVID-19, after exhaustion of the paid sick leave (PSL) offered by the employer (presumably
    including company-offered PSL and the newly mandated PSL).
  • Paid family leave is expanded to include leave taken by an employee subject to an order of quarantine relating
    to COVID-19 applicable to the employee or to the employee’s minor dependent child. 
  • Benefits available under the disability law and paid family leave run concurrently, with the PFL benefits
    being primary.
  • The amount of benefits available for COVID-19-related disability is a maximum of $2,043.92 per week, and
    for COVID-19-related PFL is a maximum of $840.70 per week. After application of PFL benefits, the amount
    of disability benefits is capped so that the employee does not receive in total more than the employee’s
    average weekly wage.
  • If the federal government provides sick leave and/or employee benefits for employees related to COVID-19,
    then the federal benefits apply first and the state benefits described above serve as a top-off up to the
    limits provide by the New York bill.
  • The employee must be restored to his/her position held prior to the quarantine (so, same position, not
    an equivalent position
    ).
  • State Website Resources. The state’s new COVID-19 website is quite robust, with lots of information and forms:

 

Miss a day, and you miss a lot!

If you are a Matrix or Reliance Standard client with questions about the new NY Paid Sick Leave, bring it! Your account manager can help. Meanwhile, even if you’re a regular person, we are here for you, absorbing each of these regulatory changes and helping you make sense of them. See you soon with a wrap-up of the new federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. (FFCRA, because we love our acronyms!) 

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