New York’s New Paid Sick Leave Law Goes into Effect Tomorrow (September 30, 2020)

Starting tomorrow, New York’s new paid sick leave law (“New York Sick Leave Law” or “NYSLL”) goes into effect, although employees are not entitled to use it until January 1, 2021.   There are several key points employers and employees should be aware of[1].  Specifically:

  • The amount of NYSLL employees will be entitled to use will vary based on employer size and income as follows:
100 or more56 hours of paid sick leaveNone
5-9940 hours of paid sick leaveNone
4 or less40 hours of paid sick leaveOver $1,000,000.00 in the previous tax year
4 or less40 hours of unpaid sick leaveLess than $1,000,000.00 in the previous tax year
  • NYSLL Accrual:

            NYSLL will accrue at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked unless an employer elects to frontload all sick time at the beginning of the year.  Moreover, employers may set a reasonable minimum increment for us, which cannot exceed 4 hours.  Even though employees are unable to use NYSSL until January 1, 2021, the law goes into effect September 30, 2020. This means that employers selecting an accrual method must be prepared to start tracking accrual, provide information upon request regarding accrual, and be prepared to carry over accrued time for employee use starting January 1, 2021.

            It is also important for employers to review their employee handbook(s) to ensure that there is a clear policy concerning pay-out policies on unused sick time upon an employee’s separation from employment.  NYSLL does not require employers to pay out unused sick time when an employee separates from employment. Unused sick leave must be carried over to the following year.  Moreover, if an employee requests that the employer provide a summary of the amount of sick leave accrued/used by the employee, the employer must provide such information within three days of the request.  The request can be made either in written form or verbally.

  • NYSSL can be used for:
  1. Employee’s physical or mental illness, injury, or diagnosis, care, treatment, or preventive care of same;
  2. Covered Family Member’s[2] mental or physical illness or injury or diagnosis, care, treatment, or preventive care for said covered Family Member’s mental or physical illness or injury;
  3. Absences related to employee’s status as a victim of domestic violence, family offense, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking; or
  4. Absences related to a covered Family Member’s status as a victim of domestic violence, family offense, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking.

Employers must ensure that they are not requiring employees to disclose any confidential information in verifying the need for NYSLL.  Additionally, employees have a right to reinstatement and protections against retaliation for exercising rights under the NYSLL.

Although the NYSLL is separate from the already existing New York State Quarantine Leave Law which went into effect on March 18, 2020, it remains to be seen how these two laws will interact in 2021. 

If you, or your organization, have any questions concerning the NYSLL or any other laws addressed in this post, do not hesitate to call Cynthia Augello at 516-888-1208 or email

[1] It is important to note that New York City and Westchester County already have their own sick leave laws.  It is unclear, at this time, how NYSLL will interact with the existing requirements in NYC and Westchester County.  Moreover, Westchester County also has a separate Safe Leave Law. 

[2] The term “Family Member” is broadly defined under the NYSLL to include: (1) an employee’s child (biological, adopted, foster child, a legal ward, or a child of an employee standing in loco parentis); (2) spouse, domestic partner, parent (biological, foster, step, adoptive, legal guardian, or person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child); (3) sibling; (4) grandchild; (5) grandparent; and (6) the child or parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner.

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