Update: This story has been updated to reflect the governor’s approval of the bill.

On March 18, 2020, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed a bill guaranteeing job-protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of COVID-19. The law is more narrow than the version Gov. Cuomo announced Tuesday, which included a statewide sick program that would have remained in effect beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The provisions of the legislation are set to take effect immediately.

COVID-19 Sick Leave Provisions

Employees subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the state of New York, the department of health, local board of health, or any other governmental entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19, will be entitled to sick leave as follows:

  • Employers with 10 or fewer employees (as of Jan. 1, 2020) and a net income less than $1 million will provide unpaid sick leave, job protection for the duration of the quarantine order, and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine.
  • Employers with 11-99 employees (as of Jan. 1, 2020) and employers with 10 or fewer employees (as of Jan. 1, 2020) and a net income greater than $1 million will provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave, job protection for the duration of the quarantine order, and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees (as of Jan. 1, 2020), as well as public employees (regardless of number of employees), will provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave and guarantee job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.

Any sick leave under the law is in addition to an employee’s accrued sick leave provided by the employer’s policy. An employee is not entitled to paid sick leave or any other benefits provided by the law where an employee has returned to the United States after traveling to a country identified by the CDC as a level 2 or 3 risk that was taken for non-business reasons, where the employee was provided notice of the travel restrictions. While such employees cannot use paid sick leave under the law, they will be eligible to use any accrued leave provided by their employer.

Employees are not eligible for sick leave under the law in cases where they are deemed asymptomatic or have not yet been diagnosed with any medical condition and are physically able to work while under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation, whether through remote access or other similar means.

Further, the law specifies that if the federal government provides sick leave and/or other employee benefits for employees related to COVID-19, employees will be entitled to any difference between the benefits offered by this law and the federal government.

Employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against any employee for taking leave pursuant to the law.

We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.

For more legal insights visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

*Jamie Moelis is a law clerk with Sheppard Mullin.