The New York State Sick Leave Law (NYSSL) was signed on April 3, 2020 and went into effect on September 30, 2020. Employees can immediately start accruing leave and can then start using the accrued leave beginning January 1, 2021. The new law is in addition to the New York State provisions that are already in effect providing emergency paid sick time due to Covid-19. Read on to learn about the specifics of this New York employment law.
How Can You Use the Leave?
Under the NYSSL, an employee must be allowed time off from their employer if they make a verbal or written request and the leave is used for “sick leave” (dealing with illness or injury) or “safe leave” (if the employee or a family member is a victim of certain types of crime). Specifically, the leave can be used for the following:
- The employee’s physical or mental illness/injury, or diagnosis, care, treatment, or preventive care for their physical or mental illness/injury
- A covered family member’s physical or mental illness/injury, or diagnosis, care, treatment, or preventive care for their physical or mental illness/injury
- Time-off related to the employee’s status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking, a sexual or family offense, or human trafficking.
- Time-off related to an employee’s family member’s status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking, a sexual or family offense, or human trafficking.
How Much Leave Do You Get?
The number of sick days that you’re entitled to take will depend on the size of your employer. The coverage of employers is the following:
- Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income of $1 million or less in the previous tax year must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per calendar year.
- Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income of more than $1 million must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.
- Employers with between 5 and 99 employees, regardless of net income, must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.
- Employers with 100 or more employees must provide 56 hours of paid sick leave annually regardless of income.
Who is Eligible for the Leave?
The law covers all private-sector employees in New York State, regardless of industry, occupation, part-time status, and overtime exempt status. If you’re a federal, state, or local government employee, then you are not covered. However, employees of charter schools, private schools, and not-for-profit corporations are covered.
Who is Considered a “Family Member?”
Under the NYSSL, a “family member” can be an employee’s child (biological, adopted, or foster child, a legal ward, or a child of an employee standing in loco parentis), spouse, domestic partner, parent (biological, foster, step, adoptive, legal guardian, or person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child, sibling, grandchild), or grandparent; and the child or parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner.
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against an employee who exercises their legal right to take leave. An employee also has a right to reinstatement after they take the leave. If they aren’t restored to their position prior to the leave, it is considered retaliation by the employer.
Speak to an Experienced New York Attorney about Sick Leave
If you’re interested in using leave under the NYSSL, just make sure that you understand that you can take leave beginning January 1, 2021. And if you need assistance with leave questions, you should talk to an employment attorney at MOWK Law who can help you navigate the complexity of New York’s labor and employment laws. Please contact us for help with your specific situation.