New York Requires Coronavirus Protected Leave for Quarantined Workers

On March 18, 2020, Gov. Cuomo signed S. 8091 law, imposing new requirements on employers as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Amongst other items, the legislation mandates that New York employers provide sick leave and job protections to employees quarantined as a result of the pandemic.

The initiative follows a significant increase in positive COVID-19 cases in the state and was passed the same day as the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The state law serves to supplement the FFCRA and protect employees to the extent not covered under the federal legislation.

Generally, the sick leave must be provided to employees who have been subjected to COVID-19 mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation. There are exceptions for asymptomatic employees who have not been positively diagnosed with COVID-19 and can work remotely. The paid leave is in addition to any other paid sick leave an employee may have already accrued.

The employer’s net income in the previous tax year and/or employee count as of January 1, 2020, determine the length of the sick leave and whether it is paid. Specifically, an employer with 10 or less employees and net income of less than $1 million must provide unpaid sick leave until the termination of any quarantine or isolation. During this period, employees will be eligible for New York State Paid Family Leave (PFL) and short-term disability benefits. 

An employer with 10 or fewer employees and net income over $1 million or an employer with 11 to 99 employees must provide at least five days paid sick leave, then unpaid sick leave for the remainder of the quarantine or isolation. After five days, the employee is eligible for PFL and short-term disability benefits.

An employer with 100 or more employees or a public employer must provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave during any order of quarantine or isolation. Accordingly, and in contrast to the FFCRA, the state law applies to employers with 500 or more employees.

Employers should be aware of the law, which became effective upon enactment. Generally, these employers would be required to provide any state mandated benefits to eligible employees to the extent such benefits were not already required under the FFCRA or other federal law.

S. 8091 »
NY Paid Family Leave COVID-19 FAQs »