With New York state’s new paid sick leave law taking effect Sept. 30, credit unions are encouraged to make sure that they are currently providing the appropriate amount of sick time to employees – as well as adhering to rules related to accrual, carryover and use of paid sick time – that is required under the new law.
The New York Paid Sick Leave Law is included in the New York state 2020-2021 budget, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on April 3, and applies to employers of all sizes, except for public employers. However, employers with four or fewer employees and a net business income of under $1 million are only required to provide unpaid – not paid – sick leave.
Employees can begin accruing the required sick time at the end of September, for use beginning Jan. 1, 2021, said Andrew Bobrek and Theresa Rusnak of Bond, Shoeneck & King attorneys, in a complimentary webinar explaining aspects of the new sick leave law. They said the amount of paid sick leave employers are required to provide to employees varies based on the size and net income of the employer:
- four or fewer employees, and an employer net income more than $1 million: 40 hours of paid sick time;
- five to 99 employees: 40 hours of paid sick time; and
- more than 100 employees: 56 hours of paid sick time.
Credit unions with fewer than 100 employees must allow their employees to carry over any unused sick time between calendar years up to 40 hours per year, and credit unions with more than 100 employees must allow their employees to carry over up to 56 hours of paid sick time. There is no payout required when an employee leaves the credit union.
Paid sick time can be used in the following instances, according to Bobrek and Rusnak:
- For a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition of an employee or an employee’s family member, regardless of whether the illness, injury or health condition has been diagnosed or requires medical care at the time that an employee requests such leave; or
- for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition of, or need for medical diagnosis of, or preventive care for, an employee or an employee’s family member.
Credit unions that break out time to be specifically used for vacation, personal and sick time should ensure that the sick time they provide meets the new law’s requirements, and that policies regarding accrual, carryover and use of the sick time are in accordance with the new law.
Vicky Burdick, CEO of Jamestown Area Community FCU and a member of the New York Credit Union Association’s board of directors, said that she is increasing her employees’ sick days from four to five, explaining that sick time is kept separate at her credit union. And allowing employees to roll over up to 60 hours of sick time at the end of the year has had its benefits.
“It has served my employees well, as twice now we had an employee have a major sickness and they both had the 60 days accrued. It was very helpful to them,” Burdick said.
Credit unions that utilize PTO, with vacation, personal and time included in one “bank,” should be aware that they do not have to break out or separate sick time. “Your overall PTO policy simply needs to provide for at least the minimum amount of time required by the New York paid sick time law and you need to make sure your policy is in compliance with the accrual, carryover and use requirements,” explained Christopher Pajak, the Association’s director of member relations and HR consultant.
While there are unanswered questions that remain to be addressed regarding the new sick law requirements, the Association is monitoring the situation and awaiting possible guidance and/or updated regulation from the state Department of Labor, which it will provide to credit unions as it becomes available.
Credit unions with compliance questions regarding how the new paid sick leave law affects them are encouraged to contact Pajak at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 342-9835, extension 8188.