AS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC rages on, both New York State and the federal government have enacted new laws regarding paid and unpaid sick leave. Cooperative and condominium boards need to know which rights their employees can exercise under these new laws.
The State Coronavirus Quarantine Leave Law
New York State’s quarantine law applies to employees under an order of mandatory or precautionary quarantine. Employees working for an employer with 10 or fewer employees and a net annual income of less than $1 million may use a combination of disability benefits and New York State Paid Family Leave, which provides 60 percent of an employee’s pay, for a maximum weekly benefit of $840.70. If employees’ weekly wage is higher than $840.70, they can apply to receive additional benefits through disability benefits insurance. The maximum weekly disability benefit is $2,043.92.
For employees working for an employer with 11 to 99 employees and employers of 1 to 10 employees with a net annual income greater than $1 million, employees are given more protections. These employers must provide at least five days of paid sick leave. After that, an employee can use the same combination of paid family leave and disability benefits. An employer with 100 or more employees must provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave. Employees are also entitled to leave to care for a minor dependent child who is under quarantine. An employee who works 20 or more hours per week is eligible after 26 consecutive weeks of employment.
Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
Employees are entitled to take paid sick leave if they are subject to a quarantine; have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine; are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking a diagnosis; or are caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.
Employees may also take such leave if they are caring for a child whose school or day care is closed because of a public health emergency. Employers with fewer than 500 employees must provide full-time employees with 80 hours of paid sick leave at the employees’ regular rate, regardless of the employees’ duration of employment. But employees who take paid sick leave to care for another individual or for a child are to receive two-thirds of their regular pay rate.
Paid sick leave wages are limited to $511 per day for a total of up to $5,110 per employee. If the employee is caring for another person or a child, the sick leave wages are limited to $200 per day for a total of up to $2,000.
Full-time employees of a business with fewer than 500 employees can request that they be paid for 80 hours of emergency sick leave instead of the initial 10 days of unpaid leave permitted by the act discussed below.
Federal Family and Medical Leave Act
This act has been temporarily amended to expand coverage to employers of fewer than 500 workers. Unpaid leave is now available to any employee who has worked for the employer for at least a month.
A company with 50 or fewer employees can request an exemption if it is able to demonstrate that adhering to coverage would jeopardize its existence.
The only qualifying reason for leave is if an employee needs to care for a minor because the child’s school or care provider is closed or unavailable. This employee must have been employed for at least 30 days and may take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave.
The first 10-day period of the emergency leave may be unpaid. After 10 days, the pay rate is two-thirds the regular rate for the number of hours the employee would have been scheduled. Pay is limited to $200 per day for up to $10,000 per employee.
Andrew I. Bart is an associate at the law firm Borah Goldstein Altschuler Nahins & Goidel.