Architectural Columns

COVID-19 In The New York Workplace – Part III: New York State Paid Leave

Please note that the information contained in this post is for informational purposes and is not to be considered legal advice. This blog post does not create or imply an attorney-client relationship.  If you would like to discuss your particular circumstances with us, please set up a consultation by contacting the Satter Ruhlen Law Firm at 315-471-0405 or through our website (  We look forward to walking you through your workplace rights.

New York State’s Paid Leave legislation went into effect on March 18, 2020.  In addition to providing coronavirus-related paid leave, it modifies the existing New York State Paid Family Leave Act and institutes paid sick leave for non-coronavirus illness.  Today’s blog will discuss eligibility and pay for coronavirus leave under the New York legislation. 

New York State Paid Leave is available to the extent that it exceeds Federal benefits.  This means that a worker affected by coronavirus should first look to the FFFCRA and then to New York State benefits.  Note that, unlike FFFCRA leave, there is no waiting period for New York leave.

  • If you or your children are quarantined:  Paid leave is available under the New York legislation for workers who are under quarantine or isolation issued by the State, Department of Health, local health board, or other government entity.  New York Coronavirus Leave is not available if the quarantine/isolation is recommended by a health care provider but not a government entity. 
  • If you work for a private employer with ten or fewer employees:  you are entitled to unpaid leave during quarantine. 
  • If you work for a private employer with 11 to 99 employees:  you are entitled to five days of paid leave during quarantine.
  • If you work for a private employer with 100 or more employees, or if you work for a public employer:  you are entitled to fourteen days of paid sick leave during quarantine.
  • Being a “nonessential” worker is not the same as being quarantined/isolated.  While there are benefits available for workers who are laid off (to be discussed in a future post), “nonessential” workers who are not working because their workplaces closed are not eligible for paid leave. 
  • Not Everyone Who Is Quarantined Is Eligible For Paid Leave
  • Employees who voluntarily travel to level two or level three health notice countries are not eligible for paid leave, but may be eligible for unpaid leave.
  • Employees who are quarantined themselves, but are asymptomatic and physically able to work from home, are not entitled to paid leave. 
  • If you are not eligible for paid leave:  Even if you are unable to get paid leave under the above eligibility criteria, you may be able to obtain some financial relief under one or more of the following options. 
  • New York State Disability Benefits:  The New York State Legislation also provides that, for purposes of New York State Disability Benefits (which are provided through the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board), you are considered “disabled” if you are unable to perform the regular duties of your employment as the result of mandatory or precautionary quarantine or isolation. The usual waiting period for disability is lifted under this legislation. Additionally, the law increases New York State Disability Benefits to a maximum of $2043.92 per week.  Quarantined employees with annual salaries up to $150,000.00 are eligible for New York State Disability Benefits.  So if you are not eligible for paid leave while you are quarantined, you can apply for New York State Disability Benefits through the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board.
  • New York State Paid Family Leave:  The new legislation increases paid family leave for coronavirus-related issues to a maximum of $840.70 per week.  It removes the waiting period for benefits; however, an employee is expected to notify the employer of the need for Paid Family Leave at least 30 days prior to the start of leave, or as soon as possible thereafter. The benefit is now available for employees whose spouse, domestic partner, child, step-child, parent, step-parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild contracts coronavirus or another serious health condition. 
  • Job Protection:  Like FFFCRA leave (see Part I), New York coronavirus leave cannot be counted against sick leave accruals, and employees must be returned to the position they held prior to taking leave. 

NEXT UP:  On Monday, we’ll start discussing how employers’ coronavirus responses may affect other workplace rights, such as nondiscrimination statutes, safety regulations, and collective bargaining rights.  Until then, take care this weekend and stay well!

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