As reported in September, New York State passed a paid sick leave law that went into effect September 30th, 2020. On October 20th, 2020, New York issued its first guidance on the New York State Sick Leave Law (NYSSLL). The release, titled “New York State Paid Sick Leave FAQ” (FAQ), appears on a new webpage dedicated to the law. The webpage also includes information on sick leave accruals, eligibility for sick leave, and permitted uses of sick leave.

Overview of the Guidance

The guidance currently contains 44 questions and answers and addresses a variety of subjects. These topics include:

  • language that collective bargaining agreements must contain to provide comparable, but different, benefits that those required under the NYSSLL;
  • the accrual of sick time for employees who are not paid on an hourly basis;
  • if part-time employees can have sick leave front-loaded at the start of a calendar year;
  • the rate of pay for sick leave taken during hours normally considered overtime working hours; and
  • if employers have to pay lost tips and gratuities during an employee’s leave.

Overview of the NYSSLL

The NYSSLL is in addition to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which went into effect in April 2020. Under that law, businesses with less than 500 employers provide workers with up to two weeks of paid sick leave. Employers also need to provide additional emergency family and medical leave. This leave, however, must be COVID-19 related. The NYSSLL requires ALL employers to provide sick leave to their workers. Employees, however, are not entitled to use NYSSLL until January 1st, 2021.

Among other stipulations, the NYSSLL includes the following:

  • The amount of NYSSLL time employees receive vary by employer size and income:
  • Employers with at least 100 employees must provide 56 hours of paid sick leave.
  • Businesses with fewer than 100 employees must provide 40 hours of paid sick leave.
  • Employers may set a reasonable minimum increment for use, which cannot exceed 4 hours.

Employer Takeaways

New York State employers need to be aware of the new mandated sick leave requirements included under the NYSSLL. There are some situations, however, when employers in certain locations need to be aware of further regulations they must follow. For example, New York City employment laws do not fully align with the NYSSLL when it comes to sick leave. Due to this, employers should reach out to employment counsel with any questions regarding the NYSSLL and any future developments.