Starting on September 30, 2020, all employees in New York must begin to accrue protected sick leave. This leave will not be available for use until January 1, 2021.

Although all employers are required to provide protected sick leave, the amount and whether it’s paid will depend on their size and net income:

  • 4 or fewer employees and net income of $1 million or less: 40 hours, unpaid
  • 4 or fewer employees and net income of more than $1 million: 40 hours, paid
  • 5–99 employees: 40 hours, paid
  • 100+ employees: 56 hours, paid

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 will roll over into a new benefit year, but employers can limit yearly use to 40 hours if they have 99 or fewer employees, and 56 hours if they have 100 or more. We do not know yet whether front loading or lump sum systems will be allowed, but we expect that they will be and will update you if and when that information becomes available.

Unused sick leave does not have to be paid out at termination and employees may use their sick leave for any of the following reasons:

  • A mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition of the employee or their family member (regardless of whether it has been diagnosed or requires medical care when the employee requests leave);
  • The diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition of, or need for medical diagnosis of, or preventive care for the employee or their family member; or
  • Certain reasons related to domestic violence, a family offense, a sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking of the employee or their family member (unless the employee committed the offense).

Employers that already have sick leave plans at least as generous as that required by the state do not need to change their offering. Employers who are subject to local sick leave laws must offer the higher level of benefits, whether that’s under local or state law.

We anticipate additional guidance and regulations from the state (for instance, a required poster and a webpage with FAQs) prior to January 1, 2021, but the information currently available is limited to the text of the statute.

Should you have any questions about this new regulation, please do not hesitate to contact us at:
[email protected]

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