NYSVMS Updates

Preparing for New York State's new Paid Sick-Leave Laws

  • 1.  Preparing for New York State's new Paid Sick-Leave Laws

    Posted 10-16-2020 14:54
    Earlier this year the New York State Budget bill included a provision that would require New York State employers to provide sick-leave in 2021, and we have included information on this in our weekly newsletters.

    The law actually went into effect on September 30th - but only to the extent that employees begin to accrue sick-leave. No employee can take sick-leave under this law until January 1st. But as January 1st comes closer - it is not surprising that members are beginning to ask more detailed questions.

    The original text of the budget bill only provides some overall principles of the new sick-leave requirements, and that is pretty much all that is available right now. However we are expecting more details to be released by the Department of Labor in a guidance document soon.

    While we wait for those details, you should start tracking information from Sep 30th onward because any unused sick-leave accrued between Sep 30, 2020 and Dec 31, 2020 will be carried-over into 2021.

    You can do this two ways. (This assumes you have under 100 employees...)

    a) Use an "up-front" accrual method. Using this approach you don't need to track hours worked, you would just give each full-time employee their 40 hours of sick-leave on Jan 1, 2021. So for the remainder of 2020 you would calculate a pro-rated amount - 40hrs x 3 months/12 months = 10 hours, and then carry-over into 2021 this amount less any sick-leave used in the final quarter of 2020. (Unless the guidelines when published say something else)

    b) Use a standard accrual, and track the hours worked by each employee, awarding 1 hour of sick-leave for every 30 hours worked, and carry over into 2021 the unused sick-leave.

    For part-time employees you are probably already tracking hours worked, so it is easy to use the accrual method. Just keep a note of any sick-leave taken, separately from vacation time records.

    You probably don't want to spend a lot of time setting up systems to do this just yet, not until the detailed guidelines are out. And once those are out, most payroll providers are likely to provide tools to help you manage this. Just make sure you keep track of the hours-worked and sick-leave taken information that you can use once there is enough information to modify your personnel policies and systems.

    If your employees ask about this - mention that you are waiting for the Department of Labor to publish their guidelines.

    The advice we received for our own business was also to wait for the detailed guidelines before changing our personnel handbook. This
    article by our lawyers - Jackson Lewis  also provides a good summary of the details that are currently known.

    Tim Atkinson
    Albany NY