Looking beyond the current Coronavirus crisis for a minute, several provisions of the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 New York State Budget proposed by Governor Cuomo and passed by the State Legislature last week will have implications for New York employers for many years down the road. First, most New York employers will be required as of January 1, 2021 to provide paid sick leave to their employees (earned at the rate of at least one hour for every thirty hours worked):
Employers of 100 or more employees: 7 paid sick days (56 hours) per year
Employers of between 5 and 99 employees or net income $1M or more: 5 paid sick days (40 hours) per year
Employers of 4 employees or less and net income less than $1M: 5 unpaid sick days per year with job protection
The leave will be able to be taken for the employee’s own mental or physical illness, injury or health condition, or of the employee’s family member (broadly defined), and the unused leave may be carried over into the following calendar year. Employers may set reasonable minimal increments not to exceed four hours, and can the use of sick leave per year to the 40 or 56 hours required to be provided. Employees are entitled to a summary of their sick leave accrual upon request, and records must be kept for six years. For many employers, they will want to convert 5 or 7 of the PTO days they provide into paid sick days in order to comply with the law.
Second, beginning on January 1, 2022, private construction projects of $5M or more which receive 30% of their funding from public sources will need to pay prevailing wage rates to the workers on those projects. Affordable housing, historic preservation, brownfield redevelopment, sewage treatment, union agreement and renewable energy projects will be exempt from the new requirement.
Third, the new law from last year providing up to three hours of paid time off to employees to vote has been changed to remove that right for employees who have their polls open for four hours or more before or after work, and to limit it to the up-to-two-hours amount contained in the pre-2019 law.
Finally, the new budget will expand possible criminal liability for employers who commit wage theft by improperly paying their employees. For example, details known so far include charges of a B Misdemeanor for theft less than $1K and a B Felony for theft or $50K or more. Employees will also be provided with enhanced lien rights for wage theft judgments that are unpaid.
We will continue to monitor these and other developments for you, and we are available to discuss them anytime.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us here or call us at 585.258.2800.