New York Sick Leave Law: What Businesses Need to Know
woman on sick leave in new york

New York Sick Leave Law: What Businesses Need to Know

The New York State Sick Leave (NYSSL) act was signed into law by Governor Cuomo back in May. New York employers are required to provide sick leave to employees effective September 30, 2020—however, employees may only begin taking this accrued sick leave from January 1, 2021. For most employers, this will be paid sick leave, though some small employers will only be required to offer unpaid leave. It’s essential that all businesses know in which category they fall. Take note: this is separate from the New York Paid Family and Medical Leave (NYPFL) program launched in 2018.

Who Does the New York Sick Law Leave Apply to?

Requirements differ based on employer size and net income:

  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees in any calendar year and a net income of $1 million or less in the previous tax year must provide each employee with at least 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per year
  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees in any calendar year and a net income of more than $1 million in the previous tax year must provide each employee with at least 40 hours of paid sick leave per year
  • Employers with between 5 and 99 employees in any calendar year must provide each employee with at least 40 hours paid sick leave per year
  • Employers with 100 or more employees in any calendar year are must provide each employee with at least 56 hours paid sick leave per year

How is Sick Leave Accrued?

Employees accrue sick leave at a rate of at least 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, although an employer may frontload this to the beginning of each year. All unused sick time must be carried over to the following year. If employers wish to implement (or continue) a more generous policy, they are free to do so—there’s no limit on how much paid or unpaid sick leave may be offered.

How Can the Sick Leave be Used?

The NYSSL legislation stipulates many possible acceptable uses for sick leave. These reasons include:

  • Mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, regardless of whether it has been diagnosed, of an employee or their family member
  • The diagnosis, care, treatment or preventative care of the above complaints
  • Absences related to an employee or their family member being a victim of domestic violence, a family offense, sexual offense, stalking or human trafficking

In these cases, “family member” means an employee’s child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, grandchild or grandparent; and children or parents of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner. “Parent” means a biological, foster, step- or adoptive parent, a legal guardian of an employee or a person who ‘stood in loco parentis’ the employee was a minor child. “Child” means a biological adopted or foster child, a legal ward or a child of an employee ‘standing in loco parentis’.

What Else Do Businesses Need to Know?

New York employers may set a minimum increment that can be used, of no more than 4 hours. However, employers can’t require that employees disclose confidential information before accepting a leave request. An employee may request (verbally or in writing) a summary of sick leave accrued and used—businesses must provide this within 3 business days. Lastly, when employees use their accrued sick leave, they have full rights to reinstatement and against retaliation from their employer.

The full text of the law is available here.

Is There A Federal Sick Leave Law?

Federal law does not require paid sick leave, though unpaid leave for medical and family reasons is guaranteed in many situations by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Many states and cities do though mandate paid sick leave. For more information, read our guide to paid sick leave laws for each state.

Paycor is not a legal, tax, benefit, accounting or investment advisor. All communication from Paycor should be confirmed by your company’s legal, tax, benefit, accounting or investment advisor before making any decisions.

How Paycor Helps

The good news is, tracking sick leave accruals is easy with Paycor Time & Attendance. Help your organization improve your attendance management, monitor and reduce labor cost, and collect reliable timesheets for payroll. To learn more, take a guided tour.

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