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April 9, 2020

Beyond COVID-19: NYS FY2021 Budget Guarantees Paid Sick Leave

On April 2, with the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic looming ominously over the state, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget, which includes an expanded paid sick leave program that is touted as the best in the nation. “This is a moment in history unlike any other, and government needs to function and deliver results for the people of this state now more than ever—and that's exactly what we did with this budget,” Governor Cuomo said.

Beginning January 2021, NYS employees will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. “In New York, we stand with our workers in sickness and in health,” Governor Cuomo recently stated. Only employers with fewer than five employees and a net income of less than $1 million will be exempt from this new legislation.

The budget specifically states:

  • Businesses with five to 99 employees (and businesses with less than five employees but a net income of more than $1 million) must provide up to 40 hours of paid annual sick leave.
  • Businesses with 100 or more employees must provide up to 56 hours of paid annual sick leave.
  • Businesses with fewer than five employees and a net income of less than $1 million must provide up to 40 hours of annual unpaid sick leave.

The budget expands the emergency bill recently signed into law by Governor Cuomo that provides paid sick leave and additional employee benefits and protections, but only in the event of a COVID-19 quarantine order. As a sponsor of the bill, NYS Senator Jessica Ramos believes “working families are the backbone of New York’s economy, and by providing each New Yorker with guaranteed paid sick leave, we’re no longer forcing people to choose between their health and paying for food, rent, or utilities.”

It remains unknown how this piece of legislation will impact the many businesses already struggling because of COVID-19.

Barclay Damon will continue to monitor New York State’s paid sick leave legislation and provide any necessary updates.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Ryan Altieri, associate, at raltieri@barclaydamon.com or another member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Area.

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