The following federal policies apply to employers with fewer than 500 employees. They go into effect April 2 and remain in effect until December 31.
Employees who are health-care providers or first responders may be excluded from the policies. Employers will receive a refundable tax credit against the employer portion of Social Security taxes for 100 percent of the qualified sick leave and family leave wages paid each quarter under the policies.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave
This program is available for full- and part-time employees who are unable to work (or telework) regardless of their start date. An employer cannot require the use of other paid leave before using the paid sick leave provided by the new law. It provides two weeks of paid sick leave for employees who:
- Are being treated for coronavirus or exhibit symptoms and are awaiting a diagnosis, or
- Have been told by a doctor or government official to stay home because of exposure or symptoms.
Full time employees are entitled to 80 hours (two weeks) of paid time off at their regular rate of pay, not to exceed $511 a day. Part time employees are entitled to two weeks of paid time off, also up to $511 per day, based on the average number of hours worked during a two-week period.
In addition, eligible full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid time off at two-thirds of their normal pay rate, capped at to $200 per day, to care for another person who is quarantined for the reasons described above, or for a minor child whose school has closed or whose child-care provider is unavailable due to coronavirus precautions.
Emergency Paid Family Leave
This program is available for employees who have been employed for at least 30 days. It provides up to 12 weeks of leave for employees who are unable to work (or telework) because they must care for a minor child whose school has closed or whose child-care provider is unavailable due to coronavirus precautions.
The first 10 days of leave may be unpaid, although the employee may elect to use any available paid time off during that time, including paid time off provided under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave described above. After the first 10 days, the employer must provide up to 10 weeks of paid leave at two-thirds of the employee's regular pay rate (capped at $200 per day).
New York State Actions
The following New York State policies are now in effect.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave
For employees who are under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by New York State or any government agency that can issue a Covid-19 order:
- Employers with 10 or fewer employees must provide their workers with job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.
- Employers with 11 to 99 employees as of 1/1/2020 must provide five days of paid sick leave and Job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.
- Employers with 100 or more employees as of 1/1/2020, and public employers, must provide fourteen days of paid sick leave and job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.
Sick leave shall be provided without loss of any accrued sick leave that an employee may have, meaning this leave will be in addition to whatever leave is already provided by the employer.
- Benefits are not available for employees who are deemed asymptomatic or not yet diagnosed with any medical condition and who are physically able to work (or telework).
- Benefits are not available for anyone returning from travel to one of the destinations on the Centers for Disease Control's travel advisory list.
Should an employee's period of quarantine or isolation extend beyond their available sick leave as described above, the employee would be able to apply for Paid Family Leave (PFL) and for New York State Short Term Disability (DBL) concurrently.
Benefit amounts would be the combination of payments from PFL and DBL, up to 100 percent of an employee's average weekly wage, capped at $2,884.62 per week. These benefits can also be used for the care of a dependent minor child who is under an order of quarantine or order of isolation. This provision does not apply if a child's school or place of care is closed.
Changes to New York State Unemployment
New York State is waiving the seven-day waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits for people who become unemployed due to Coronavirus-related closures or quarantines. Situations where an employee may file an unemployment claim include but are not limited to:
- Termination of all employment
- Being furloughed from a position (a temporary layoff with an expected return to work date)
- A reduced work schedule, for example going from working five days a week to two 2 days.
A person filing a new unemployment insurance claim should file based on the first letter of their last name. If your last name starts with A-F, file your claim on Monday. For last names starting with G-N, file on Tuesday. For last names starting with O-Z, file on Wednesday. If you miss your filing day, file your claim on Thursday, Friday or Saturday.