Public Health Emergency Provisions in NYC and Westchester County Sick Leave Laws

COVID-19 Update

While New York employers are appropriately focused on understanding and applying the mandates of the March 18, 2020 New York State Paid Sick Leave Law and the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, it is important for New York City and Westchester employers to remember that the long-standing New York City Earned Safe and Sick Leave Law and Westchester County Sick Leave Law both contain public health emergency provisions that enable employees to use sick leave for reasons that are relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, these local laws permit employees to use their accrued sick leave if (i) an employee’s workplace closes due to a public health emergency (such as the current COVID-19 pandemic), or (ii) the school or childcare facility of an employee’s child closes due to a public health emergency. Accordingly, if an employee is unable to report to work (and unable to work remotely) for one of these two reasons, the employee may be entitled to use sick leave.

It is also important to note that the New York State Paid Sick Leave Law states that its sick leave requirements shall be provided “without loss of [an employee’s] accrued sick leave,” thus indicating that the New York State sick leave entitlements will be on top of an employee’s accrued but unused sick leave under either the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Leave Law or the Westchester County Sick Leave Law.

Manatt’s Employment and Labor team continues to closely track the details of this new legislation and is available to provide guidance to employers on this and other COVID-19-related developments at both state and federal agencies. Please feel free to contact the team for additional information.

For regular updates on the major challenges companies are facing, please visit our COVID-19 resources page and subscribe for timely updates in your inbox here.

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