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New York State’s Sick Leave Guidance: What You Need to Know

By Scott Hosler, on December 8th, 2020

On September 30, 2020, the New York State Sick Leave (NYSSL) went into effect. The NYSSL covers all private-sector workers and employees of nonprofit organizations as well as employees of out-of-state employers who physically work in New York State. Under this new law, employees are entitled to various amounts of sick leave depending on the size of their employer. The table below outlines the required number of hours based on employer size.

New York State Sick Leave (NYSSL) Table

Under NYSSL, sick leave accrues at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked unless employers elect to grant the leave at the beginning of the year. NYSSL can be used for a variety of different health situations involving the employee and/or their family members. The term “family member” has been very broadly defined under NYSSL. One important item to note is that although the law took effect September 30, 2020, employees are not entitled to use hours accrued under NYSSL until January 1, 2021. However, employers must still be prepared to track accrual of earned sick leave for the last three months of 2020 and carry over that time for use starting January 1, 2021.

Employers who already provide some form of sick leave benefit will need to review their existing policy to ensure it complies with the new law. If the existing benefits meet or exceed the amount of leave granted under NYSSL, no additional time need be provided to employees.

Unions will be allowed to negotiate different terms and conditions than those required by NYSSL. Collective bargaining agreements taking effect on or after September 30, 2020, will also be allowed to provide paid days off (leave time, compensation, or a combination of these or other benefits) as a replacement to the leave required under NYSSL. For these situations to be allowable, the provisions of the NYSSL must be specifically listed in the collective bargaining agreement.

Leave accrued under NYSSL is benefit separate and additional to the New York State COVID-19 leave and any other applicable federal or state leave entitlements. Employees may choose to use NYSSL concurrently with Paid Family Leave if allowed by their employer. This may result in an employee receiving their full salary for part or all their leave time. However, combining leave benefits cannot result in an employee receiving wages in excess of their normal full salary.

This is an important new law with several impacts for employers. If they have not already done so, employers should take the following steps as soon as possible:

  • Review your current leave policy and update or add elements as needed
  • Make sure human resources and/or management is familiar with the NYSSL
  • Review current payroll procedures and systems to ensure they can adequately track leave under the NYSSL

Please reach out to a member of our team if you need assistance with understanding or implementing the new law.

This material has been prepared for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Should you require any such advice, please contact us directly. The information contained herein does not create, and your review or use of the information does not constitute an accountant-client relationship.

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Scott Hosler Jun14
Scott Hosler

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