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New York State Requires All Employers to Accrue Protected Sick Leave Time

Effective September 30, 2020, New York State will require all employers to accrue protected sick leave time. Employees are not entitled to use the time until January 1, 2021.

The amount of protected leave time will vary by the size and net income of the employer.

  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income of $1million or less in the previous tax year must provide 40 hours of unpaid sick leave
  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income of more than $1 million in the previous tax year must provide 40 hours of paid sick leave
  • Employers with fewer than 100 employees must provide 40 hours of paid sick leave
  • Employers with 100+ employees must provide 56 hours of paid sick leave

Employees will accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Accrual begins on September 30, 2020, or the employee’s first day of work, whichever is later. Unused sick leave must be carried over to the following year. Employers are not required to pay unused sick leave at termination.

Employers may set a reasonable minimum increment for use, which cannot exceed 4 hours.

Employees may use their sick leave for:

  • The employee’s mental or physical illness, or injury, or diagnosis, care, treatment, or preventive care for employee’s mental or physical illness or injury
  • The mental or physical illness, or injury, or diagnosis, care, treatment for the employee’s covered family member, or preventive care for a covered family member’s mental or physical illness or injury
  • Absences related to an employee or covered family member’s status as a victim of domestic violence, family offense, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking

A “covered family member” is broadly defined under the NYSSL to include an employee’s child (biological, adopted, or foster child, a legal ward, or a child of an employee standing in loco parentis), spouse, domestic partner, parent (biological, foster, step, adoptive, legal guardian, or person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child), sibling, grandchild, or grandparent; and the child or parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner.

While employees may not be able to use the protected sick leave time until January 1, 2021, the law goes into effect September 30. Employers should select or review their accrual method and be prepared to start tracking accrual, provide information upon request regarding accruals, and be prepared to carry over accrued time for employees to use starting January 1, 2021. Employers must maintain records regarding the amount of sick leave provided to employees for six years.

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