As discussed in our advisory published yesterday, on Wednesday March 18, the New York legislature passed a bill designed to provide job protection and various degrees of economic security to employees across the state who are impacted by COVID-19.
Later that same day, New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill enacting it into law, effectively immediately.
Job Protection and Partial Wage Replacement
We would like to highlight the most important points of the new law (our prior advisory discussed these in more detail).
Specifically, with January 1, 2020, being the operative date for calculating the number of individuals employed:
- Employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income of less than $1 million must provide job protection for the duration of a quarantine/isolation order and guarantee such workers access to Paid Family Leave and short-term disability benefits for the period of quarantine/isolation (A "mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation" is defined as a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the State of New York, the department of health, local board of health, or any government entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19);
- Employers with 11-99 employees, and employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million, must (i) provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave and, separately, job protection for the duration of the quarantine/isolation order, and (ii) guarantee that such workers are given access to Paid Family Leave and short-term disability benefits for the period of quarantine/isolation; and
- Employers with 100 or more employees must provide (i) at least 14 days of paid sick leave and (ii) job protection for the duration of the quarantine/isolation order.
There are a few other significant points of which employers should be aware:
- The law does not apply where an employee is deemed asymptomatic or has not yet been diagnosed with any medical condition and is physically able to work while under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation, whether through remote access or other similar means.
- Employees eligible for short-term disability benefits and Paid Family Leave after exhausting sick leave under this statute may use those benefits concurrently (both of which are funded by employee payroll deductions). Thus, an eligible employee may receive wage replacement of up to $2,884.62 per week (not to exceed the individual employee's regular weekly wage).
- For purposes of this legislation only, New York Paid Family Leave may be used for one’s own serious health condition.
Employer COVID-19 Resources
Employers are encouraged to consult counsel as they confront the unique challenges of managing a workforce during the Covid-19 pandemic, and as they consider policy changes necessary to comply with new legislation on the federal, state, and local levels.