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Mark your calendars: New York State’s sick leave law effective from 30 September 2020

On 30 September 2020, New York State’s new state-wide permanent sick leave law goes into effect, requiring employers to provide unpaid and paid sick leave benefits to their employees. With the law’s effective date approaching, this article provides a summary of some of its major provisions.

Under the paid sick leave law, New York employers:

  • with four or fewer employees in any calendar year and a net income of one million or less in the previous tax year must provide each employee with up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave in each calendar year;
  • with four or fewer employees in any calendar year and a net income of greater than one million dollars in the previous tax year, or between five and 99 employees in any calendar year, must provide each employee with up to 40 hours of paid sick leave in each calendar year; and
  • with 100 or more employees in any calendar year must provide at least 56 hours of paid sick leave in each calendar year.


While employers may choose to front-load all of the required sick leave, if they do not, employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, beginning on the later of the first day of employment or the effective date of the sick leave law (30 September 2020). However, employers may choose to restrict the use of any accrued sick leave until 1 January 2021. Remember, an employee’s unused sick leave carries over to the following calendar year, up to a certain maximum depending on the size of the employer. The law also specifies the purposes for which an employee may use sick leave, such as for the mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition of an employee or the employee’s family member.

In addition to the provisions discussed above, the law also includes confidentiality and record-keeping provisions. Notably, employers are required to establish, maintain and preserve, for not less than six years, accurate payroll records showing the amount of sick leave provided to each employee, along with the other information required under Section 195 of the New York Labor Law. Other provisions of the law include its anti-retaliation and job protection provisions designed to protect employees who either request or have taken sick leave.

The new sick leave law does not pre-empt already-existing local sick leave laws and permits cities with a population of 1 million or more to enact a local sick leave law or ordinance that meets or exceeds the requirements under the state-wide law. Therefore, the provisions of Westchester County’s Paid Sick Time Ordinance and the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act still apply.

For more detail, please refer to our previously issued client alert, which you can access here.

Bran Noonan
Bran Noonan
FordHarrison LLP