Here’s what CUs need to know about the state’s new paid sick leave guidance

New York state on Tuesday released guidance on paid sick leave, which went into effect on Sept. 30, 2020.

The New York Paid Sick Leave Law was 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.

Theresa Rusnak and Kerry Langan of the law firm Bond Shoeneck & King say the guidance provides some clarity for employers, but also leaves many questions unanswered.

They break down some of the key elements of the state’s paid sick leave law guidance below:

Definition of employee and employer: The guidance defines employee as “any person employed for hire by an employer in any employment.” Therefore, this includes employees who work less than full time and encompasses seasonal and likely temporary and per diem employees.

“Frontloading” for part-time employees: Employers must continue to track an employee’s hours so that the employer can allow the employee to accrue paid sick leave if the employee works more hours than initially anticipated by the employer.

Accrual: Employers need only grant their employees up to 40 or 56 hours of paid sick leave (dependent upon employer size), even if the employee would accrue more than that amount during the course of a year using the one hour granted for every 30 hours worked accrual method set up by the statute.

Carryover: Regardless of the amount of paid sick leave carried over, employers may restrict employees from using more than 40 or 56 hours of leave per calendar year.

Use: Employees may use paid sick leave for routine medical, dental or vision appointments, whether or not a medical condition has been diagnosed, however, employers do not have to allow employees to use paid sick leave for bereavement purposes.

Rate of pay: An employee must be paid at the employee’s regular rate for paid sick leave.

Other leave-related guidance:

  • If an employer allows an employee to use paid sick leave while using paid family leave, an employee may elect to do so. Electing this option may allow employees to receive full wages during this period, but employees cannot receive more than their full wages while receiving paid family leave benefits.
  • Employers may not impose a waiting period for accrual or use of paid sick leave.
  • Employees who telecommute only accrue paid sick leave for the hours that they physically work in New York.
  • Employers who are physically located outside the state must provide paid sick leave to employees who telecommute for the hours those employees work in New York.

Access Rusnak and Langan’s full summary of the guidance as well as questions they say remain unanswered in the guidance by clicking here.

Credit unions with compliance questions regarding how the new paid sick leave law affects them are encouraged to contact Christopher Pajak at christopher.pajak@nycua.org or (800) 342-9835, extension 8188.

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