The COVID-19 pandemic has spread throughout all 50 states, but perhaps none is harder hit than New York. In response to the exponentially increasing number of COVID-19 cases, on March 18, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill providing emergency paid sick leave for those who are quarantined, caring for a sick loved one, or suffering from COVID-19 themselves.
What Does This New Legislation Include?
This emergency bill has been effective since its passage on March 18 and can also provide benefits retroactively. It provides benefits for all eligible employees who are covered by an eligible mandatory (or precautionary) quarantine or isolation order.
Just about every employee in New York who isn't able to work remotely is considered an "eligible" employee under this act, but the available benefits depend on the employer's size and revenue. Meanwhile, eligible quarantine and isolation orders include those issued by:
- The State of New York;
- The Department of Health;
- Any local boards of health; or
- Any other government entity that has been authorized to issue a COVID-19 quarantine or isolation order.
What Benefits are Available?
The smallest employers, or those with 10 or fewer employees and a net worth of less than $1 million (as of January 1, 2020), are only required to provide job protection while the quarantine order is in effect—essentially an extension of the job protection provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act. Employees of these employers must allow employees to use any paid family leave benefits or short-term disability benefits during the quarantine period and can receive their regular rate of pay by doing so.
For businesses with 10 or fewer employees and a net income of more than $1 million or businesses with between 11 and 99 employees, the employer is required to provide each of the above-listed benefits plus at least five days of paid sick leave.
And for businesses with more than 100 employees and public employers, the employers must provide job protection and at least 14 days of paid sick leave. In each of these cases, this sick leave is in addition to any sick leave the employee has accrued as a condition of employment.
Finally, businesses must also provide job protections for working parents whose child or children is subject to a quarantine or isolation order. Eligible employees (those who can't work remotely) may receive up to $840.70 per week until the quarantine has ended.
By extending these benefits to workers affected by a coronavirus-related quarantine or isolation order, New York's leaders hope to boost household incomes, provide job protections, and take away some of the stress of this unprecedented pandemic.
The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax planning or legal advice. We suggest that you consult with a qualified tax or legal advisor.