New York State Paid Sick Leave law
January 15, 2021 / By Tracy Rickett, Human Resources Generalist
All private sector workers in New York State are covered under the state’s paid sick leave law, regardless of industry, occupation, part-time status, overtime exempt status, and seasonal status. If a person is issued a W-2 year-end tax form, they are eligible for the New York State Paid Sick Leave. Non-profit and religious organizations are not exempt from this law.
The law requires employers, depending on their size, to provide 40 or 56 hours of unpaid or paid sick leave per year for reasons relating to the health of the employee or the employee’s family. Amount of paid sick leave depends on size of company and net income in previous year. See chart below.
Sick Leave Requirements
4 or fewer employees and annual net income of $1 million or less
40 hours of unpaid sick time per calendar year
4 or fewer employees and annual net income greater than $1 million
40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year
5 – 99 employees
40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year
100 or more employees
56 hours of paid sick time per calendar year
On Sept.30, 2020, covered employers in New York State started to accrue leave at a rate of not less than one hour for every 30 hours worked.
Starting Jan.1, 2021, employees were able to start using accrued leave following a verbal or written request to the employer for sick leave reasons or their family for whom they are providing care or assistance with care.
As an alternative to the accrual method, employers may choose to provide the full amount of sick leave required by law at the beginning of each calendar year. This up-front sick leave is not subject to later revocation or reduction if, for instance, the employee works fewer hours than anticipated by the employer.
Employees must be allowed to carry over accrued and unused sick leave to the following calendar year. However, employers may limit employee use to the number of hours that the employee is entitled to use within the calendar year (either 40 or 56 hours depending on the size of the employer). Employers may set a reasonable minimum increment for the use of sick leave, but it cannot be more than 4 hours.
Reasons for Leave
Employers must provide accrued sick leave for the following purposes related to health conditions:
- An employee’s or employee’s family member’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition (regardless of whether the illness, injury, or health condition has been diagnosed or requires medical care at the time the employee requests leave); OR
- The diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition of, or need for medical diagnosis of, or preventive care for, an employee or employee’s family member.
Employers must also provide accrued sick leave for any of the following reasons when the employee or employee’s family member has been the victim of domestic violence (as defined by state law), a family offense, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking:
- To obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other services program;
- To participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocate, or take other actions to increase the safety of the employee or employee’s family members;
- To meet with an attorney or other social services provider to obtain information and advice on, and prepare for or participate in any criminal or civil proceeding;
- To file a complaint or domestic incident report with law enforcement;
- To meet with a district attorney’s office;
- To enroll children in a new school; or
- To take any other actions necessary to ensure the health or safety of the employee or the employee’s family member to protect those who associate or work with the employee.
An employer may not require, as a condition of providing sick leave:
- The disclosure of confidential medical information
- Information relating to absence from work due to domestic violence, a sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking
Employees returning to work after taking sick leave must have their position, pay, and terms and conditions of employment restored to what they were before the leave.
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees exercising their right to leave.
Employees using paid sick leave must be paid at their regular rate of pay or the applicable minimum wage under state law, whichever is greater.
Upon the request of an employee, employers are required to provide, within three business days, a summary of the amounts of sick leave accrued and used by the employee in the current calendar year and/or any previous calendar year.
Employers must keep records for six years showing the weekly amount of sick leave accrued and used by each employee.
If an employer has an existing leave policy (sick leave or other time off) that meets or exceeds the accrual, carryover, and use requirements, this law does not present any further obligations on that employer.
For more information on the New York State Paid Sick Leave, New York State Paid Sick Leave
Churches should review their time-off policies to ensure their policies meet the New York State Paid Sick Leave.
If you have any questions on the New York State Paid Sick Leave, please contact Tracy Rickett, Human Resources Generalist, at 315-898-2017 or TracyRickett@unyumc.org.