Employers Still Waiting for Regulations for Additional Clarification
The week of October 19th the New York Department of Labor released additional guidance on the paid sick leave law, including a Frequently Asked Questions document.
Summary of the law
On April 3, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed legislation establishing the right to sick leave for New Yorkers. The law requires employers with less than $1 million in revenue and four or fewer employees to provide 40 hours of unpaid sick time. Employers with over $1 million in net income or with 5-99 employees must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick time. Employers with over 100 employees must provide 56 hours of paid sick leave. This new law is in addition to the New York State provisions already in effect providing emergency paid sick time due to COVID-19.
On September 30, 2020, covered employees in New York State began to accrue leave at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked. On January 1, 2021, employees may start using accrued leave.
HR One has been working with our clients to revise their sick and paid time off policies and to set-up accruals within Payentry, but there are many questions still unanswered regarding the sick leave.
Proposed regulations will hopefully be released by the end of the year, though final regulations are likely months away. HR One will continue to provide updates.
What are things employers should be doing right now?
Employers should review current policies to make sure that all employees, including part-time, per-diem, and seasonal employees are eligible for paid sick leave. Quite simply, if you issue them a W-2, they are eligible. Another step that can be taken right away is to add the reasons for use to your existing paid time off policy in accordance with defined uses in NYS regulations. It will be important for employers that decide to include the sick leave under a PTO umbrella that employees understand that their paid time off is intended to provide leave specifically for the following reasons:
Make sure your sick leave or paid time off policy includes non-retaliation/non-harassment language. Paid sick leave is now a statutory right for employees and taking action against an employee for utilizing earned time off could result in liability for penalties and fines.
If you are using HR One's Payentry services, we can help you back-fill any accruals from September 30th so that employees begin 2021 with a balance. If you are not using our payroll services, be sure and discuss accrual options with your payroll provider as soon as possible.
Look for more information as the state releases their draft regulations and the final regulations.