By LaDonna Lusher
New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has enacted emergency relief in the form of paid sick leave for employees who have been affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  The relief offered to employees varies depending on the size and income of the employer.  Workers who qualify may be compensated by a combination of benefits, such as paid sick leave, paid family leave and disability benefits. 

The regulation requires most public employers and employers with 100 or more employees to provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave if an employee, or the employee’s minor dependent child, is subject to a “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 government entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19.“[1]  

Qualifying employers with 11 to 99 employees, and those with 10 or fewer employees and over $1 million in revenue, must provide at least five days of paid sick leave. Once the sick leave is exhausted, employees can seek paid family leave and disability benefits. 

Employers with 10 or fewer employees, and less than $1 million in revenue are not obligated to pay for any sick days, leaving those employees to seek relief through paid family leave and disability benefits.  However, New York City employers with 5 or more employees must provide employees who work at least 80 hours per year with up to 40 hours of sick leave.[2]

Employees can also seek relief if they need to care for a family member who has COVID-19.  New York State provides eligible employees with paid family leave when caring for family members who are suffering from COVID-19, while New York City employees can apply for up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to care for family members.

Employees who are able to work remotely are not eligible for the emergency relief, and employees who lost their jobs due to their employer shutting its business can immediately file for unemployment benefits.

If you have questions about whether you qualify for paid sick leave, or if your employer is not providing you with paid sick leave or benefits, call us to speak with one of our attorneys at 212-943-9080.  Stay safe and healthy.