In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, yesterday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill providing job protection and benefits to certain employees quarantined due to COVID-19.
Principally, the legislation provides certain job protections to employees subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the state, the Department of Health, a local board of health, or any government entity authorized to issue a quarantine order. The protections vary based on employer size, as follows:
- Employers with more than 100 employees and all public employers must provide 14 days of paid sick leave.
- Employers with between 11 and 99 employees, and a net income greater than $1 million, must provide five days of paid sick leave and give workers access to New York Paid Family Leave (PFL) and short-term disability benefits.
- Employers with 10 or fewer employees, and a net income greater than $1 million, must provide five days of paid sick leave and give workers access to PFL and short-term disability benefits.
- Employers with 10 or fewer employees, and a net income of less than $1 million, must provide their employees with access to PFL and short-term disability benefits, but have no obligation to pay out of pocket for sick leave.
Notably, under these circumstances only, the law allows an employee to receive benefits under PFL and short-term disability at the same time – something which has not previously been permitted.
These protections do not apply to any employee who returned to the United States after voluntarily – i.e., not at the direction of their employer – traveling to a country for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a level two or three travel health notice.
The new measures also (1) guarantee that an employee will be restored to the position they held at the commencement of the leave, with the same pay and other terms and conditions of employment, and (2) prohibit discrimination or retaliation against employees for taking leave under the law.
Employers should ensure that they are aware of the quarantine-related job protections and benefits provided for by this legislation, as they are effective immediately. If you have any questions on how to comply with the new law or on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your workforce, please contact us at rsCoronavirusEmploymentTeam@ReedSmith.com.