The Paid Sick Leave Law (PSLL) was approved by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo on April 3, 2020, adding to the initial PSLL that was signed on March 18, 2020. This was codified under section 196-b of the New York Labor Law, and it states that employees may begin accruing sick leave as of September 30, 2020, and using sick leave as of January 1, 2021. This law covers all employers in New York State and gives employees a minimum of 40 hours of paid or unpaid sick leave and a maximum of 56 paid hours, depending on the net income and size of their employer. This law does not prevent or prohibit an employer from providing an amount of sick leave, paid or unpaid, in excess of what is required by the law.
Here are some of the contingencies based on net income and size of the employer:
- Employers with 4 or less employees in a calendar year and a net income of $1 million or less in the previous tax year: Must provide each employee with at least 40 hours of unpaid sick leave each calendar year.
- Employers with 4 or less employees in any calendar year and a net income of more than $1 million in the previous tax year: Must provide each employee with at least 40 hours of paid sick leave each calendar year.
- Employers with between 5 and 99 employees in any calendar year: Must provide each employee with at least 40 hours of paid sick leave each calendar year.
- Employers with 100 or more employees in any calendar year: Must provide each employee with at least 56 hours of paid sick leave each calendar year.
Employees can accrue sick leave at a rate of not less than 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, beginning either at the effective date of the law (September 30, 2020) or the onset of their employment. Another option for employers would be to front-load employees’ sick leave at the beginning of the year. The PSLL also stresses that employers must compensate employees who are using paid sick leave at the greater of (I) their regular rate of pay, or (II) the minimum wage applicable via Labor Law Section 652.
The PSLL states that cities with a population of 1 million or greater (Only New York City thus far in New York State) can enact or enforce local laws that impose stricter requirements in relation to sick leave policy. The PSLL expressed that any paid sick leave benefits given by a sick leave program implemented by a municipal corporation in effect as of September 30, 2020 shall not be lessened as a result of the PSLL. It is likely at this point that the New York State Department of Labor will issue some form of guidance regarding the enforcement of the PSLL throughout the state.
Austin is a staff accountant of Cerini & Associates audit and consulting practice. He works with nonprofit, special education and school district clients. His auditing experience allows him to assist in vital audit functions, such as system testing and analysis, as well as claims audit functions.