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N.Y. to Pass Law Requiring Paid Sick Leave Amid Virus Outbreak

March 17, 2020, 7:37 PM

New York state will require employers to offer paid sick leave and job protection for workers quarantined as a result of the new coronavirus, according to an agreement reached by legislative leaders.

The bill agreed to Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D), and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins (D), would require businesses with up to 99 employees to provide job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.

They also would have to guarantee their workers access to paid family leave and short-term disability benefits during the quarantine, including wage replacement for salaries up to $150,000.

Employers with 11 to 99 employees, and businesses with 10 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million, would have to provide at least five days of sick leave, according to the bill.

Employers with 100 or more employees, and all public employers, would have to provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave and guarantee job protection for the duration of the quarantine order, the bill says.

The Democratic-led state Senate and Assembly are expected to pass the measure. Lawmakers could vote as soon as Wednesday when they are expected to return to the state Capitol in Albany. The provisions of the quarantine legislation will take effect immediately upon passage.

Combating the Virus

“The paid sick leave measure we’ve agreed to today expands those protections to all New Yorkers - because no New Yorker should lose their job or income for following a critical public health order,” Cuomo said in a released statement.

States and cities nationally are beginning to propose worker protections as part of their efforts to combat the virus. San Francisco on March 16 said it will spend $10 million to offer paid sick leave to all private sector workers and nonprofit employees. Colorado’s labor department March 12 put a rule in place temporarily requiring up to four days of paid sick leave for workers in specific industries while they await virus test results.

Cuomo announced March 11 that New York will guarantee two full weeks of paid leave for all state workers who are subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine as a result of the coronavirus.

Permanent Paid Leave

The new measure goes further, putting in place comprehensive paid sick leave that would take effect 180 days after the bill is enacted. The proposal was originally included in Cuomo’s 2021 budget.

Employers with 100 or more employees would have to provide at least seven days of paid sick leave annually, the bill says.

Employers with five to 99 employees, and businesses with four or fewer and a net income of more than $1 million, would have to provide at least five days of paid sick leave annually. Smaller businesses, with four or fewer employees and a net income less than $1 million, would have to provide at least five days of unpaid sick leave annually.

To contact the reporter on this story: Keshia Clukey in Albany, N.Y. at kclukey@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Karl Hardy at khardy@bloomberglaw.com; Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com

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