Tag Archives: Paid Leave

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 (https://www.satterlaw.com/contact-us/).  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!

COVID-19 In The New York Workplace – Part II: FFFCRA Workplace Rights

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 (https://www.satterlaw.com/contact-us/).  We look forward to walking you through your workplace rights.

This is the second in a series on New York’s COVID-19 response in the workplace.  Each day we’ll post about a different aspect of what employees can expect from new federal and state legislation passed in response to the pandemic. 

Today we’ll talk about your workplace rights under the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act [“FFFCRA”], which goes into effect on April 1, 2020.

FFFCRA provides job security and sick leave protection for workers eligible for leave.  Moreover, there are income protections for employers to help employers cover the costs of paid leave for eligible employees. 

To recap Part I, whether and how much paid leave an employee can receive depends on the size of the employer and who is in quarantine (viz., the employee or a member of the employee’s household).  Please see Part I of this series for a detailed discussion of eligibility requirements). 

Job Security:  If your workplace employs 25 or more employees and you take FFFCRA leave, you must be returned to the same or an equivalent position when you return from leave.  If your workplace employs fewer than 25 employees, the employer must take reasonable steps to return you to the same or equivalent position, but if the position no longer exists, there is no requirement to return you to work. 

Sick Leave:  Employers are not allowed to count FFFCRA leave against an employee’s accrued paid leave.  This means that if you have sick leave, PTO, vacation, or other paid time accruals, the employer may not force you to use those accruals before you use FFFCRA or count your FFFCRA leave against those accruals.  However, you may voluntarily decide to use your accruals to cover the 10-day waiting period before you start receiving benefits. 

Notice Posting:  The U.S. Department of Labor will soon release notice postings (similar to posters you may have already seen your breakroom) detailing employees’ rights under the FFFCRA.  These posters must be put up in conspicuous places in the workplace. 

Employers Will Get Assistance To Pay For FFFCRA Leave:  Employers are being reimbursed for 100% of any paid leave taken under the FFFCRA by eligible employees.  Employers will have no payroll tax liability, and will receive an immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes on any eligible FFFCRA leave.  Additionally, Employers are entitled to request expedited refunds on any payroll tax credit from the IRS. 

NEXT UP:  Join us tomorrow for Part III, which will discuss the New York State Paid Leave Act.

COVID-19 In The New York Workplace – Part I: FFFCRA Eligibility

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 (https://www.satterlaw.com/contact-us/).  We look forward to walking you through your workplace rights.

UPDATED 3/30/20: The U.S. Department of Labor has expanded its COVID-19 FAQs. The updated FAQs have answers to dozens of questions about how the FFCRA may affect your right to leave.

This is the first in a series on New York’s COVID-19 response in the workplace.  Each day we’ll post about a different aspect of what employees can expect from new federal and state legislation passed in response to the pandemic. 

Today’s topic is eligibility for paid leave under the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act [“FFFCRA”], which goes into effect on April 1, 2020. 

Some general eligibility requirements:  The FFFCRA applies to workplaces with fewer than 500 employees.  There is a 10-day waiting period before an employee can begin to receive benefits. New York State employees are expected to exhaust leave options under the FFFCRA and use the New York legislation to fill in any gaps. 

Importantly, not every employee is eligible to receive FFFCRA paid leave, and the amount of leave depends on why the employee is out of work. 

If you are quarantined yourself:  Employees who are quarantined, whose health care provider has recommended self-quarantine, or who are experiencing symptoms and seeking diagnosis, are eligible for up to 80 hours of paid leave with a maximum of $511.00 per day, if they are unable to work or telework.  This means if you are home for a reason unrelated to COVID-19 and you are able to telework, you are not eligible for FFFCRA paid leave.

If someone in your home is quarantined:  Employees whose children’s school or daycare is closed, or who are responsible for the care of an individual subject to quarantine or recommended self-quarantine, are eligible for up to 80 hours of paid leave at 2/3 pay, with a maximum of $200.00 per day, if they are unable to work or telework. If that employee has been employed for at least 30 days, and is unable to telework due to child care needs, that employee may be eligible for up to 10 additional weeks at 2/3 pay per day. Again, an employee who is staying home to care for a loved one but is able to telework is not eligible for FFFCRA paid leave.

If your employer employs fewer than 50 employees, the employer may apply for an exemption from the above rules if the business will be jeopardized by the requirements.  Also, employers of healthcare workers and emergency responders may deem certain employees exempt from the FFFCRA requirements. 

Note that FFFCRA benefits are not available just because your workplace has closed.  Only if you fit the above eligibility standards can you receive paid leave under the FFFCRA.

NEXT UP:  Join us tomorrow for Part II, which will discuss your workplace rights if you need to take FFFCRA.

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