Mark Your Calendars: New York State's Sick Leave Law Goes Into Effect on September 30, 2020

Date   Sep 2, 2020

On September 30, 2020, New York State’s new statewide permanent sick leave law goes into effect, requiring employers statewide to provide unpaid and paid sick leave benefits to their employees. With the law’s effective date drawing near, we provide below a summary of some of the major provisions of the law. For more detail, please refer to our previously issued client alert, which you can access here.

Under the paid sick leave law, New York employers:

  1. with 4 or fewer employees in any calendar year and a net income of one million or less in the previous tax year must provide each employee with up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave in each calendar year;
  2. with 4 or fewer employees in any calendar year and a net income of greater than one million dollars in the previous tax year, or between 5 and 99 employees in any calendar year, must provide each employee with up to 40 hours of paid sick leave in each calendar year; and
  3. with 100 or more employees in any calendar year must provide at least 56 hours of paid sick leave in each calendar year.

While employers may choose to front-load all of the required sick leave, if they do not, employees accrue 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, beginning on the later of the first day of employment or the effective date of the sick leave law (September 30, 2020). However, employers may choose to restrict the use of any accrued sick leave until January 1, 2021. Remember, an employee’s unused sick leave carries over to the following calendar year, up to a certain maximum depending on the size of the employer. The law also specifies the purposes for which an employee may use sick leave, such as for the mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition of an employee or the employee’s family member.

In addition to the provisions discussed above, the law also includes confidentiality and record-keeping provisions. Notably, employers are required to establish, maintain and preserve, for not less than 6 years, accurate payroll records showing the amount of sick leave provided to each employee, along with the other information required under Section 195 of the New York Labor Law. Other provisions of the law include its anti-retaliation and job protection provisions designed to protect employees who either request or have taken sick leave.

The new sick leave law does not preempt already-existing local sick leave laws and permits cities with a population of 1 million or more to enact a local sick leave law or ordinance that meets or exceeds the requirements under the statewide law. Therefore, the provisions of Westchester County’s Paid Sick Time Ordinance and the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act still apply.

Please consult our April 7, 2020 legal alert for a more detailed discussion of the new law. If you have any questions regarding this Alert, please feel free to contact the Alert’s authors: Bran Noonan,, and Mohammad Shihabi, Of course, you can also contact the FordHarrison attorney with whom you usually work.