Whether an employee is entitled to New York COVID-19 paid sick leave or PFL/DBL benefits under the law, and in what amount, is determined based upon employer size, as discussed below. However, an employee is not entitled to any leave or benefits if the employee is asymptomatic or has not yet been diagnosed with any medical condition, and the employee is able to work remotely (or otherwise) while complying with the quarantine or isolation order.

COVID-19 Paid Leave Benefits Vary Based Upon Employer Size

Employee entitlement to New York COVID-19 paid sick leave and PFL/DBL benefits varies by employer size. There is no length of service requirement or hours worked threshold to qualify for New York COVID-19 paid sick leave. However, the normal eligibility requirements for New York PFL and DBL benefits apply to employees who seek compensation under those programs for leave related to a quarantine or isolation order.

The New York COVID-19 paid sick leave entitlement is separate from any company-provided PTO that an employee may have available (including general sick leave). An employer cannot require an employee to use accrued company-provided sick leave or any other accrued sick leave such as leave under the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act prior to taking New York COVID-19 paid sick leave.

The following chart shows the amount of New York COVID-19 paid sick leave available to an employee based upon his or her employer’s size and whether PFL/DBL benefits may be used by the employee during the duration or remainder of the quarantine or isolation order:

Employer Size (as of January 1, 2020)

NY COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave PFL & DBL

10 or fewer employees and net income < $1M in 2019

No paid sick leave. Unpaid leave until termination of order

Eligible immediately

10 or fewer employees and net income > $1M in 2019

5 days of paid sick leave and unpaid leave until termination of order

Eligible following 5 days of paid sick leave

11-99 employees

5 days of paid sick leave and unpaid leave until termination of order

Eligible following 5 days of paid sick leave

100+ employees

14 calendar days of paid sick leave

Not eligible

Public employers

14 calendar days of paid sick leave

Not eligible

Employee on Leave Related to Employee’s Own Quarantine or Isolation Order

An employee who is unable to perform the regular duties of employment or the duties of any other employment that his or her employer may offer, as a result of an order of mandatory or precautionary quarantine or isolation, meets the requirements to receive (1) paid sick leave, and where applicable, (2) PFL benefits, and (3) DBL benefits.

The usual DBL waiting period has been waived so that benefits can be paid out immediately following exhaustion of any available New York COVID-19 paid sick leave. Following use of any available New York COVID-19 paid sick leave, an eligible employee can receive PFL benefits up to 60% of pay capped at $840.70 per week. If the PFL benefits do not result in full wage replacement, the employee can receive disability benefits to equal his or her full pay up to a maximum weekly disability benefit of $2,043.92, for a total of $2,884.62 per week.

Previously, employees were not permitted to receive DBL and PFL benefits concurrently.

Employee on Leave Related to Minor-Dependent Child’s Quarantine or Isolation Order

Employees of all employers who cannot work or telework while caring for a minor-dependent child with a quarantine or isolation order issued with respect to the child would be eligible only for PFL benefits.

Proof of Disability or Need for Family Leave

The new law requires that a New York employee seeking paid quarantine leave and/or benefits under New York’s paid family leave and disability insurance programs have an individualized mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the state of New York, the state department of health, a local board of health, or another authorized government entity.

It is important for employers and employees to keep in mind that state-wide “stay at home” orders are not the type of quarantine or isolation order that would result in a paid leave or benefits entitlement under the New York law under the New York law. Nor would direction from a private physician to self-quarantine or self-isolate qualify or if an individual independently decided to quarantine. Please visit our FAQs for more details on the documentation required.

Interaction With Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act will impact the availability of New York COVID-19 paid sick leave and DBL/PFL benefits calculations under the New York law. Effective on April 1, 2020, benefits under the New York law will be available only to the extent they exceed the leave and benefits provided by the federal law.

The interplay between the federal and state legislation can be complicated and the resulting combination of leave and benefits available to any particular employee will depend on a variety of factors including employer size, employee salary, employee work hours, and eligibility for and prior use of New York DBL and PFL benefits.

Employers with New York employees should work closely with their counsel, insurance carriers, and third-party administrators to ensure their leave and benefits offerings are in sync with the new law.

New York has made available answers to FAQs on its Paid Family Leave website. The New York State Labor Department is expected to issue additional guidance and clarification in connection with the new legislation.

Guardian continues to stay on top of all new and evolving legislation.  For additional updates, please visit our resource center, which includes frequently asked questions about Guardian’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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