Woman coughing while at work.

New York Strengthens Worker Protections for Paid Sick Leave Beyond COVID-19

By Douglas Lipsky

In March, New York enacted legislation guaranteeing coronavirus-related paid sick time. Now, lawmakers have gone a step further by mandating paid sick leave for most workers. If you believe you have been denied paid sick leave, it takes a highly skilled employment lawyer to protect your rights.

New Paid Sick Leave Requirements in New York

In April, state lawmakers passed a bill guaranteeing paid sick leave to most workers starting in 2021. Employees will accrue 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. There are limits to the total amount of sick time workers can take, however, depending on the size of their employer. 

Businesses with more than 100 employees cap sick time at 56 hours per year (or 7 work days) while those with fewer than 100 workers can cap sick time at 40 hours per year (or 5 work days). It is important to note that companies with 4 or fewer workers with a net income of $1 million or less are exempt from the paid sick leave requirements.

The legislation comes on the heels of a measure enacted in March to provide emergency paid sick leave for immediate use during the COVID-19 crisis. Legislation signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month provides paid sick leave for workers during the public health emergency, depending on the size of the employer:

  • Companies with at least 100 employees must provide them with at least 14 days paid sick leave
  • Businesses with between 11 and 99 employees must provide them 5 days paid sick leave, and after that, access to short-term disability (STD) benefits and paid family leave (under the state’s paid family leave law)
  • Companies with 10 or fewer workers and less than $1 million in revenue are not required to provide paid sick leave but must give workers access to STD and paid family leave

The measure is intended to provide immediate relief to workers during the COVID-19 crisis, and now workers will also benefit from guaranteed paid sick leave next year.

Why This Matters

The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented challenge that is dramatically transforming the workplace in myriad ways. The best way for employees to protect their rights, now and in the future, is to have the advice and guidance of an experienced employment lawyer. If you have been denied paid sick time or any of your employment rights have been violated, turn to Lipsky Lowe LLP. Our employment lawyers will be the strength in your corner and make sure your rights are protected.

About the Author
Douglas Lipsky is a co-founding partner of Lipsky Lowe LLP. He has extensive experience in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, breach of contract, unpaid overtime, and unpaid tips. He also represents clients in complex wage and hour claims, including collective actions under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and class actions under the laws of many different states. If you have questions about this article, contact Douglas today.