Coronavirus has upended everyone’s lives. In New York City, paid sick leave rules for employers have existed since April 2014. Still, not all jobs are covered by New York City’s paid sick leave rules and with no end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic, workers must understand their rights under the law.
Who Is Covered in New York?
In New York City, paid sick leave is guaranteed to:
- Full-time employees
- Part-time employees
- Employees who are family members but not owners of the business
- Transition jobs program employees
- Employees who live outside of New York City
To qualify for these rights, employees must work 80 hours or more per calendar year in the city.
People who do not qualify for paid sick leave include:
- Employees that work less than 80 hours per calendar year in the city
- Qualified scholarship program employees who work is compensated by the program
- Employees of government agencies
- Independent contractors who do not meet the definition of an employee under New York Labor Law
- WEP (Work Experience Programs) participants
- Some employees subject to collective bargaining agreements
Amount of Sick Leave Offered for NY Employees
If you are an employee covered by this sick leave policy, then employers must furnish you with written notice of your right to sick leave. Make sure to keep a copy of this notice.
In it, you’ll find that the amount of sick leave depends upon the number of people employed at the business. For five or more employees, workers are guaranteed up to 40 hours of paid sick leave at their regular hourly rate or no less than the current minimum wage.
For businesses with one to four employees, up to 40 hours of unpaid leave per calendar year is offered.
When Can New Yorkers Use Sick Leave?
You are entitled to use your sick leave when:
- You have a physical or mental illness, injury, or health condition
- You must care for a family member who has a physical or mental illness
- Your employer’s business closes due to a public health emergency, such as what may be happening with coronavirus
- You must care for a child whose school or daycare provider closed due to a public health emergency, such as with the coronavirus
Under this law, family members are individuals such as:
- A child
- Domestic partner
- Any individual related by blood to the employee
Specific Questions About Workers Rights and Coronavirus in NY
There are so many questions about employment and coronavirus. Here are a few of the most common:
If you have an underlying health condition that puts you at high risk, do you have the right to work from home or take sick leave?
Yes, you do. The Americans with Disabilities Act ensures that workers with health conditions that could be made worse by the virus can ask to take leave or work from home.
If you’re told to stay home from work and you’re not getting paid, can you claim unemployment?
Yes. If you’re being forced to quarantine you can seek unemployment compensation.
Can my employer retaliate if I use sick leave?
No, it is illegal for your employer to retaliate. If they threaten you with discharge, demotion, discipline, reduce in yours, or suspension, you should seek legal counsel.