New Yorkers can begin using paid sick leave on Friday

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - New Yorkers can begin using paid sick leave benefits as of January 1.

Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Tuesday, saying the state’s sick leave law is the strongest in the nation.

Under the law, medium and large businesses must provide paid sick leave.

Paid or unpaid leave must be offered at small businesses, depending on the employer’s net income.

New Yorkers can use sick leave to:

  • recover from an illness
  • care for a sick family member
  • address safety needs if they or a family member are the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking

Under the law, New Yorkers earn sick leave based on the hours they work, earning one hour of leave for every 30 hours they work, retroactive to September 30, 2020.

The measure requires businesses to provide different levels of sick leave depending on their size:

  • Businesses with 100 or more employees must provide up to seven days (56 hours) of paid sick leave per year
  • Businesses with five to 99 employees must provide up to five days (40 hours) of paid sick leave per year
  • Businesses with fewer than five employees, but a net income of more than $1 million must provide up to five days (40 hours) of paid sick leave per year
  • Smaller businesses with fewer than five employees and a net income of less than $1 million must provide up to five days (40 hours) of unpaid sick leave. However, those already providing paid sick leave can continue to do so.

Prior to the law’s passage, the state says approximately 1.3 million New Yorkers did not have access to paid sick leave - forcing them to either take unpaid leave and risk losing their jobs or show up to work while sick, potentially spreading communicable diseases to coworkers and the general public.

Nearly one-in-four workers had reported being fired or being threatened with termination for taking sick time, according to the state.

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