New York Releases Guidance Related to New Paid Sick Leave Law
New York State has created a website and issued FAQs to assist NY employers and employees in the implementation and usage of its new paid sick leave law. As we’ve previously discussed, this new law applies to almost all private employers in the state.
More FAQs are expected as some questions remain regarding the new law. Sick leave balances may be accrued or frontloaded, and for now, it appears employers may use a hybrid method depending on the situation. Of course, any employer choosing to go with a hybrid method must ensure there is no discriminatory intent or impact in its implementation.
The guidance states that if an employer’s existing policies meet or exceed the requirements in the new law, including carryover and use requirements, then the employer need not change its policies. Specifically, it states, “the law does not present any further obligations on that employer.” It appears for now that if an employer provides more than required under the law, the employee will not be limited as far as its usage. In other words, the employer will not have to require that the employee “save” time to be used solely as sick time. We will update our blog if the proposed regulations indicate otherwise.
For now, we recommend that whenever possible, an employer that decides to maintain a PTO style time off policy make best efforts to track whether time off is taken for sick time until New York State provides more clarity on this issue. This is also important to ensure an employer is complying with the law’s sick leave carryover requirements. Employees may request a summary of their sick time accrued and used in a current or past calendar year, and employers have three days to comply. Tread carefully, however. The new paid sick leave law provides that sick time can be used to due to the employee’s sickness or to care for a family member (and the definition provided is quite broad), but that the employer cannot demand confidential health information to verify the need to take sick leave.
More FAQs are expected in the near future. In addition, proposed regulations should soon be released. There will be a comment period during which the public can voice any concerns about particular aspects of the proposed regulations. We will post a link to those proposed regulations when they become available.
The guidance available thus far can be found here.
If you have any questions regarding the issues discussed above or if you have any other Labor & Employment Law concerns, please contact the Underberg & Kessler attorney who regularly handles your legal matters or Alina Nadir, the author of this piece, here or at (585) 258-2805.