New York’s new sick leave law went into effect on January 1.  New York is one of 15 states with a paid sick leave law.  Workers can use sick leave to recover from an illness themselves, care for a sick family member, or seek help for themselves or a family member for domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking. 

About 1.3 million New Yorkers didn’t have access to paid sick leave before the law, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, and nearly 1 in 4 workers have reported being fired or threatened with termination for taking sick time. 

Employees at most businesses can start using sick days that the new law allowed them to start accruing in September, at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked.  Any unused sick leave has to be carried over to the following year.  Companies with more than 100 employees must provide workers with up to 56 hours – equivalent to seven days – of paid sick leave each year. That decreases to 40 hours – five days – at most companies with five to 99 employees.  Workers at companies with fewer than four employees and net income less than $1 million must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave each year. Employers that provide employees with a single paid time off benefit (which can be used for sick time, vacation time, personal leave, and/or any other paid leave reason) can continue to provide that single paid time off benefit so long as the benefits (and the terms and conditions for using those benefits) exceed the requirements of the paid sick leave law.  Employers should contact the author to develop compliant policies that meet their needs and the requirements of this new state law.

Scott DeLuca

Scott focuses his practice on employment law and employment related litigation, employee benefits, wage and hour matters, and labor relations issues.  

rsdeluca@kavinokycook.com