As we have discussed, there are notable gaps in the recently passed Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, including exemptions for employers with under 50 and over 500 employees. Accordingly, some states have been working to address those gaps. For example, New York State enacted a paid sick leave law on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, that extends required paid sick leave to employers of all sizes.
Instead of exempting employers with under 50 and over 500 employees, the New York law takes the size of employers into account only with respect to the amount of sick leave provided. However, New York’s new law notably only covers employees who are subject to mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation by the state Department of Health, local boards of health, or any governmental entity duly authorized to issue such an order. This means that isolation or quarantine required by employers or as a product of an employee’s self-quarantine do not meet New York’s requirements, whereas the federal law covers employees who are experiencing coronavirus symptoms and seeking a diagnosis, as well as those caring for an individual under quarantine.
The amount of paid sick leave afforded employees in New York State differs based on the employer size as follows:
For large and small employers outside New York, the question now becomes, will my state follow New York’s lead? If the federal law does not currently apply to my business, will my state take action to change that?
State and federal governments are rapidly responding to the coronavirus and enacting new measures every day. For the most up-to-date information on new obligations and requirements employers are facing, Foley is constantly updating its Coronavirus Resource Center with the latest thought leadership on what companies can do now and how best to prepare for the future.