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Paid Time Off in New York

Am I Entitled to Paid Sick Leave, Family Leave, or Vacation Time in New York?

Some states require employers to offer paid sick leave or other paid time off.
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Does My New York Employer Have to Give Me Breaks From Work?
 
Can My Employer Garnish My Wages in New York?

Updated: 2021-01-11 by

Employees in New York are legally entitled to state temporary disability benefits, paid sick leave, and paid family leave under New York law.

The rules for paid sick and family leave have changed rapidly in response to COVID-19. In March of 2020, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which required many employers to start providing some paid time off to employees affected by COVID-19 by the beginning of April. The leave provisions of the law expired at the end of 2020, however.

Employers in most states are not legally required to offer paid time off to employees, although many choose to do so. 

Paid Sick Leave: Federal Law

The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act required covered employers to provide up to ten days of emergency paid sick leave for reasons related to COVID-19. However, this law expired at the end of 2020. Although Congress extended a tax credit for employers who choose to continue offering this leave for a few months, it did not extend the requirement that employers provide this leave.  

Paid Sick Leave: New York and Local Law

More than a dozen states require employers to give employees paid sick time to use for their own illnesses or to care for a family member.

New York recently passed a paid sick leave law, which requires employers to provide one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours an employee works. The leave must be paid, except that employers with four or fewer employees and a net annual income of $1 million or less may provide unpaid leave instead. The amount of time employees may accrue a year depends on the size of the employer: 

  • Employers with 100 or more employees must allow employees to accrue up to 56 hours of paid sick leave per year.
  • Employers with five to 99 employees must allow employees to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. 
  • Employees with four or fewer employees must allow employees to accrue up to 40 hours of sick leave per year, paid if the employer has a net annual income of more than $1 million and unpaid for employers earning less. 

Employees may use this time for their own illness or preventative care or to handle certain practical, legal, and safety issues arising from domestic violence, a family offense, a sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking against the employee or a family member.

In addition, New York passed emergency legislation on paid leave relating to quarantine or isolation in response to the coronavirus pandemic. If you are subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19, or your child is subject to such an order, you are entitled to:

  • five days of paid sick leave, if your employer has 11 to 99 employees, or if your employer has ten or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million
  • 14 days of paid sick leave, if your employer has 100 or more employees. 

Learn more at New York's paid sick leave page. If you need time off to care for a family member, you may be eligible for paid family leave under New York law. And, if you work for a smaller employer and are quarantined for more than five days, you may be eligible for paid disability leave under New York law. These topics are covered below. 

In addition, a handful of local governments require employers doing business in the area to give employees a certain amount of paid sick leave. To find out if you are covered by this type of law, consult the frequently updated list of city and county paid sick leave laws at the website of the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Paid Family Leave: Federal Law

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act also required employers to offer public health emergency leave, a form of paid family leave. Eligible employees were eligible to take this leave if they were unable to work or telework because their child's school or care provider was closed or unavailable due to a COVID-19 public health emergency. This leave was available for up to 12 total weeks, the first two unpaid and the remaining ten paid. 

However, this leave entitlement also expired at the end of 2020. Like the paid sick leave provision, Congress extended the tax credit for employers who choose to continue providing this leave for a few months, but did not extend the requirement to provide leave. 

Paid Family and Disability Leave: State Law

Some states allow employees to collect benefits for disability leave, family and medical leave,  or both. Employers may also choose to make such benefits available voluntarily.

Disability Leave

A handful of states require employers to provide short-term disability insurance to employees who are temporarily unable to work due to disability, including pregnancy. Typically, employers pay into a state insurance fund to provide this coverage. 

New York is one of the handful of states that provide temporary disability insurance to employees who are unable to work. If you are eligible, you will receive about half of your usual wages, up to a maximum amount.

Some companies provide disability insurance as an employee benefit. This coverage may be short-term, long-term, or both. If you meet your employer’s requirements for taking this type of leave, you can make a claim for benefits under your employer’s plan.

Family and Medical Leave

A growing number of states have made paid family and medical leave benefits available to employees, typically through an insurance program that is funded by payroll withholding and/or employer contributions. In some states, this is part of the disability program; other states don't provide disability benefits, but have a standalone paid family leave benefit program. 

New York offers paid family leave under a law that took effect in 2018. Employees may receive benefits for up to 12 weeks off to:

  • bond with a new child
  • handle certain matters relating to a family member's military deployment, or
  • care for a family member with a serious health condition.

This program is funded by payroll withholding. Unlike the insurance programs of some states, however, it gives employees the right to continue their health insurance while on leave, and to be reinstated when their leave is over. 

Learn more at New York's paid family leave page

Unpaid Time Off for Illness or Family Leave

Even if you aren’t entitled to paid time off when you are sick or need to care for a family member, you may be entitled to unpaid leave. Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), for example, eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks off per year, unpaid, for their own serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition (among other reasons). Only employers with at least 50 employees must comply with this law, and employees are eligible for leave only if they have worked for at least a year, and at least 1,250 hours during the past year, for the employer.

Some states also require employers to provide unpaid time off for family and medical reasons, including illness. To find out the rules in New York, contact the New York State Department of Labor.

Paid Vacation

Currently, only Nevada and Maine require employers to provide paid vacation or personal leave to employees (in the form of paid time off). 

New York does not require employers to provide paid time off -- leave that can be used for any reason the employee chooses, like vacation time or personal leave -- to employees. If you have an employment agreement that promises you a certain number of paid vacation or personal leave days, then you may have a contract claim against your employer if it doesn't provide them. Otherwise, however, almost all employers may choose whether or not to offer vacation time or similar paid time off. 

If your employer does provide vacation time, state law determines whether your employer must pay out your accrued, unused vacation time when your employment relationship ends.

Under New York law, your paycheck must include pay for accrued vacation time unless your employer has a policy stating that such accrued time is forfeited upon separation from employment.

If You Have Already Lost Your Job

Under all of these federal and state laws, leave is available only to those who are still employed. If you have already been laid off or otherwise lost your job, you should apply for unemployment benefits. You can find lots of information, articles, resources, and links -- including information on how New York is handling unemployment claims in the coronavirus pandemic -- at our unemployment benefits learning center

 

Does My New York Employer Have to Give Me Breaks From Work?
 
Can My Employer Garnish My Wages in New York?

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