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Showing posts with label Paid Sick Leave. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paid Sick Leave. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

NYS Adopts Sick Leave Rules & Leave Many Employers with Questions

New York State has adopted Sick Leave requirements for employers to follow under NY Labor Law § 196-b. With the new rule having become effective on 12/22/21, employers and their HR teams need to get up to speed quickly. 


The new rule requires employers of 3 different categorical sizes to provide a minimum number of paid sick leave hours for employees depending on the size of the employer and its net income. 


The rule does the following:

  • Establishes standards of how employees shall accrue sick leave at a rate of no less than 1 hour per every 30 hours worked; 
  • Protects employees from having to disclose confidential health information to employers as a condition to taking sick leave; 
  • Sets up conditions for employees carrying over unused sick leave over to the following calendar year; 
  • Creates protections to prevent employers from retaliating/discriminating against employees for exercising his/her sick leave rights; 
  • Requires employers to provide written records of sick leave accrual upon employee request; 
  • Requires that employees returning from sick leave be restored to their position prior to the sick leave with the same pay & other terms / conditions of employment; & 
  • Allows for collective bargaining agreements to be entered into that provides for paid sick leave. 


Before the rule became effective, employers commented and expressed their concerns, under the regulatory process, and the government's responses have clarified the following facts:

  • Newer employees will abuse sick leave because the rules allow employees to immediately use sick leave upon accrual; 
  • Carrying over unused sick leave days to following years is problematic (per DOL, employers may either: (1) give employees the option to voluntarily elect to use & receive payment for paid sick leave prior to the end of a calendar year or carry over unused sick leave; or (2) only allow employees to carry over unused sick leave);
  • Conflicts can arise between sick leave requirements and other leave policies if not clarified in the employer's policy manual;
  • Employee abuse systems need to be in place within an employer's policy manual or issues will arise; and
  • Collective bargaining agreements need to be addressed to comply with the new rule.


This new sick leave rule will continue to raise concerns by employers and employees, but proactive employees with great policy manuals / collective bargaining agreements, which have been updated to reflect the new rule will win the day. Otherwise, there are going to be a lot of discrimination and retaliation claims when sick leave issues arise. 


Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Employees are Entitled to Use Paid Sick Leave to Recover from COVID-19 Vaccinations.

To provide further incentive for people to get vaccinated, The New York State Department of Labor recently issued guidance permitting employees to use paid sick leave to recover from side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. The New York State legislature previously passed a law entitling employees to paid leave to receive vaccinations.


New York State law requires employers with five or more employees (or net income of more than $1 million dollars) to provide 40 hours of annual paid sick leave to its employees. New York Labor Law Sec. 196-b permits employees to use sick leave "for mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, regardless of whether it had been diagnosed or requires medical care at the time of the request for leave." 


The DOL clarified that Section 196-b requires employers to "honor the employee's desire to use accrued sick leave for recovery of any side effects of the COVID-19 vaccination." 




Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Employers in NYC Must Update Their Sick and Safe Leave Policies

On September 28, 2020, Mayor De Blasio signed a bill into law amending the New York City Paid Sick and Safe Leave law to make it largely consistent with New York State's new Paid Sick Leave law. 

The law amends the New York City Paid Sick and Safe Leave law as follows:

Amount of Sick Leave

  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income of over a million dollars are obligated to provide 40 hours of Paid Sick and Safe Leave per calendar year (no prior requirement);
  • Employers with 5-99 employees (regardless of net income) are required to provide 40 hours per calendar year (unchanged);
  • Employers with 100 or more employees are required to provide 56 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year (previously 40 hours). 
Other Notable Changes:
  • Each pay period, an employer must provide to all employees a writing (whether via paystub or other document) containing the amount of sick leave accrued and used by the employee;
  • If employers require employees to provide supporting medical documentation when using Paid Sick and Safe Leave, employers must reimburse employees for any fees incurred in obtaining such documentation;
  • The new law permits the City to conduct an investigation into employer violations (even if there is no employee complaint) and commence a civil litigation against an employer;
  • Employers can face civil penalties of $500 per violation plus a $15,000 penalty if they engage in a "pattern or practice" of violation of the law. If employee is discharged in violation of the law, an employer can be obligated to pay a $2,500 penalty in addition to lost wages/benefits.

The amendments to the law take effect on September 30, 2020. Employers with employees in New York City should update their policies to avoid exposure.



Friday, April 03, 2020

2021 NYS State Budget Enacts Paid Sick Leave Law

On April 2, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced the 2021 New York State Budget which includes a statewide paid sick leave law. The new law states, in summary, as follows: 
  • Every employer is required to provide employees with annual sick leave beginning on January 1, 2021; the amount and pay required is dependent on the number of employees:
    • Employers with four (4) or fewer employees and a net income of less than one (1) million dollars in the prior tax year must provide up to forty (40) hours of unpaid sick leave per year. 
    • Employers with 5-99 employees (and employers who have four (4) or fewer employees and a net income greater than one (1) million dollars) must provide up to forty (40) hours of paid sick leave per year. 
    • Employers with a 100 or more employees must provide fifty-six (56) hours of paid sick leave per year.
  • Sick leave accrues at a rate of one (1) hour for every thirty (30) hours worked. Employers may provide all of the required hours at the beginning of the year. 
  • Employees may use sick leave under the following circumstances:
    • Employee has a a mental or physical illness or injury (regardless if it has been diagnosed or employee requires medical care). 
    • To care for a family member who has an illness or injury. 
    • To take various precautionary measures; seek treatment or services as a result of the employee or family member being a victim of domestic violence. 
  • Employers who deny employees sick leave or retaliate against an employee for taking sick leave may be liable for substantial damages including but not limited to: back pay, front pay, attorneys' fees, civil penalties and liquidated damages up to $20,000.





Thursday, March 19, 2020

Coronavirus Family/Sick Leave Bill Signed Into Law

On March 18, 2020, President Trump Signed The Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law. The new law contains several modifications from the original bill passed by the House. Employers must immediately draft policies and train human resources employees to implement the new law. In addition, Employers must post a Notice in the workplace as detailed below.

Here is a summary of key provisions of the new law that apply to employers/employees:

1) Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

Effective Dates: April 2, 2020 – December 31, 2020.

Qualified Employers/Employees: Applies to employers with less than 500 employees for all employees who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days.

Reason for Leave: The qualifying reason for leave is limited to an employee who is "unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age of such employee if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable due to a "public health emergency."

Amount of Pay (tax credits are available to employers): The first 10 days of leave are unpaid (employee may substitute accrued vacation, personal or sick leave). For the following 10 additional weeks, the employer must compensate the employee at a rate of no less than two-third's of the employee's regular rate of pay. However, such pay is capped at $200 per day and $10,000 total.

Job ProtectionPosition is protected until return from leave unless employer, who employs 25 or fewer employees, eliminates position due to a downturn in economic conditions as a result of the Coronavirus. However, employers would still have to make "reasonable efforts" to restore employee to the same or equivalent position.

Exemptions: The Act provides authority to the Department of Labor to exclude health care providers, emergency responders and employers with less than 50 employees where the "viability of the business as a going concern" would be jeopardized.

2) Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

·         Effective Dates: April 2, 2020 – December 31, 2020

·         Qualified Employer/Employee: Covers all employers with less than 500 employees for all employees regardless of length of employment.

·         Reasons for Leave: Employee may take leave under this Act, if unable to work (or telework) for any of the following reasons:
  • The employee is subject to federal, state or local quarantine as a result of the Coronavirus;
  • The employee has been advised by a health care provide to self-quarantine as a result of the Coronavirus;
  •  The employee is experiencing symptoms of the Coronavirus and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  •  The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order described in Section 1, or advised as described in Section 2;
  • To care for a child whose school is closed or his/her regular child care provider is unavailable;
  • The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor. 
Amount of Pay (tax credits are available to employers)Employers must pay all employees who qualify under reasons 1-3 above at the employee's regular rate of pay, capped at $511 per day and $5,110 total. However, if employee's leave is a result of reasons 4-6 above, employer must only compensate employee at 2/3 of his/her regular rate of pay, capped at $200 per day and $2,000 total.

Exemptions: Health care providers and emergency responders.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Governor Cuomo Announces Legislation Providing Paid Leave and Job Protection to Employees

On Tuesday March 17, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced that the New York State legislature has agreed to paid sick leave and other protections for employees as a result of the impact of the Coronavirus. While the text of the bill has not yet been released and has not passed the legislature, the Governor announced that the legislation, which will become effective immediately upon enactment, will include the following:

  • Employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income less than $1 million will provide job protection for the duration of the quarantine order and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine including wage replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.
  • Employers with 11-99 employees and employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million will provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave, job protection for the duration of the quarantine order, and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine including wage replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees, as well as all public employers (regardless of number of employees), will provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave and guarantee job protection for the duration of the quarantine order. 

The legislation will also include annual sick leave (similar to the NYC law), which will be effective 180 days after enactment. The legislation, according to the Governor, will include the following:

  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income less than $1 million will provide at least 5 days of unpaid sick leave each year.
  • Employers with 5-99 employees and employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million will provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave each year.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees will provide at least 7 days of paid sick leave each year.