Pension & Benefits News NY Gov. Cuomo signs legislation that will provide paid sick leave to workers affected by Coronavirus and beyond
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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

NY Gov. Cuomo signs legislation that will provide paid sick leave to workers affected by Coronavirus and beyond

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

On March 18, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law legislation guaranteeing paid leave for New Yorkers under mandatory or precautionary quarantine due to COVID-19.

For quarantined employees, job protection and paid leave would be scaled by employer size, with those having 100-plus employees providing 14 days of paid leave; under permanent paid sick leave proposal, it would be seven days.

Just the day before, Governor Cuomo had announced a deal with the state legislature on a bill that would guarantee job protection and pay for those affected.

The program bill would also make permanent the comprehensive paid sick leave policy first advanced by Cuomo in his Fiscal Year 2021 Executive Budget proposal, according to the Governor’s office.

Last week, Governor Cuomo announced that New York will guarantee two full weeks of paid leave for all state workers who are subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine as a result of the novel coronavirus.

For those in quarantine or isolation. Going further, the legislative package addresses the immediate needs of employees affected by COVID-19 who are subject to mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation. The new legislation would provide the following:

  • Employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income less than $1 million would provide job protection for the duration of the quarantine order and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine, including wage replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.
  • Employers with 11-99 employees and employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million would provide at least five days of paid sick leave, job protection for the duration of the quarantine order, and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine, including wage replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees, as well as all public employers (no matter the number of employees), would provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave and guarantee job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.

The provisions of the quarantine legislation—now Ch. 25 (S8091/A10153)—is effective immediately.

Paid sick leave proposal. The March 17 legislation also included the comprehensive paid sick leave proposal that was advanced by the Governor Cuomo as part of his State of the State and FY 2021 Executive Budget, which would be effective 180 days after enactment. Specifically, the legislation would provide:

  • Employers with four or fewer employees and a net income less than $1 million would provide at least five days of unpaid sick leave each year.
  • Employers with 5-99 employees and those with four or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million would provide at least five days of paid sick leave each year.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees would provide at least seven days of paid sick leave each year.

All hands on deck. Governor Cuomo also said that the state is reaching out to qualified former doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to supplement personnel at hospitals. New York’s Department of Health and Education Department have sent letters to retired health care professionals and all schools of nursing, public health, and medicine encouraging qualified health care personnel to sign up for on-call work during the COVID-19 crisis..

Drop-in child care. The Governor also directed the Greater New York Hospital Association and the Healthcare Association of New York State to work with 1199 SEIU to develop a plan to create drop-in chil dcare opportunities and expand child care facilities at their hospitals to ensure child care for the hospital workforce. They will submit a joint plan to the state by March 20.

SOURCE: State of New York, Office of the Governor, Press Releases, March 17, 2020 and March 18, 2020.

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