New York has enacted legislation (SB 7506B) that will require all employers in the state to provide employees with sick leave. The law takes effect on January 1, 2021; however, employees begin accruing sick time on September 30, 2020.
Updated October 2020: The state has recently provided guidance on its paid sick leave law in the form of frequently asked questions.
Senate Bill 7506B:
Amount of sick leave:
The amount of sick leave employers must provide, and whether it is paid or unpaid, depends on the size of the business and revenue in the previous tax year.
Amount of Leave Per Year
Paid or Unpaid?
4 or less employees (businesses with net income of $1 million or less in the previous tax year)
4 or less employees (businesses with net income over $1 million in the previous tax year)
100 or more employees
Employers must use the calendar year to determine their number of employees. However, employers may choose to set a different consecutive 12-month period for purposes of leave accrual and use.
Employers must compensate employees at their regular rates of pay, or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is greater.
Employees must accrue at least one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked starting on September 30, 2020. Employers must permit employees to begin using leave on January 1, 2021.
Employers may frontload all available leave at the start of the calendar year.
Use and carryover:
Employers can set a reasonable minimum increment for sick time use, which cannot exceed four hours.
Employees may carry over unused sick time into the following calendar year, however, employers with fewer than 100 employees may limit the use of sick leave to 40 hours per calendar year. Employers with 100 or more employees can limit use to 56 hours per calendar year.
The law does not require employers to pay an employee for unused sick time at the time of termination, regardless of the reason.
Reasons for leave:
Employees may take sick leave for the following reasons:
- For the employee's, or their family member's, mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, regardless of whether or not such conditions are diagnosed or require medical care at the time of the request.
- For the employee's, or their family member's, diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, including preventative care.
- When the employee or their family member is a victim of domestic violence, a family offense, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking. Leave may be used to obtain services, participate in safety planning, relocate, meet with an attorney or social services provider, participate in civil or criminal proceedings, file a complaint with law enforcement, enroll their child in a new school, or take any other action to ensure their health and safety.
Family members include an employee's:
- Child (adopted, biological, or foster child, a legal ward, or a child of an employee standing in the place of a parent)
- Spouse or domestic partner and parent or child of an employee's spouse or domestic partner
- Parent (biological, foster, step or adoptive parent, or legal guardian of an employee, or a person who stood in place of a parent when the employee was a minor child)
- Grandchild or grandparent
Employers must maintain records showing the amount of sick leave provided to each employee for a period of at least six years.
Further, employers must provide employees with a summary of the amounts of sick leave earned and used in both the current calendar year and any previous calendar year(s) within 3 business days of an employee's verbal or written request.
Employers may not retaliate against employees for using or requesting sick leave. Employers are also prohibited from requiring, as a condition of providing sick leave, the disclosure of an employee's, or their family member's, confidential medical information.
After using sick leave, the employee must be restored to their previous position with the same pay and other terms and conditions of employment.
Interaction with existing PTO programs and local ordinances:
An employer will not be required to provide additional leave if it has an existing sick leave or time off policy that provides employees with leave that meets or exceeds the accrual, carryover, and use requirements of Senate Bill 7506B.
Additionally, cities with populations of 1 million or more are permitted to enact their own local laws that meet or exceed the minimum requirements of Senate Bill 7506B. Any paid sick program enforced by a local jurisdiction in effect as of January 1, 2021 will be enforceable. Employers in such jurisdictions will need to coordinate compliance with both laws.
New York employers should review their policies, forms, practices, and supervisor training to ensure compliance with Senate Bill 7506B. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions