New Year, New Laws. New York’s Paid Sick Leave is in Full Effect.

Employers of all sizes across New York State should familiarize themselves with the New York State Paid Sick Leave law (“NYSPSL”). All private sector employees are covered, regardless of industry, occupation, part-time status and overtime exempt status. While employees of federal, state, local and public schools are not covered, employees of charter schools, private schools and not-for-profit organizations are.

The NYSPSL went into effect on September 30, 2020, for accrual purposes only, but employees could not access the sick leave until January 1, 2021.

Leave must be accrued at a rate not less than one hour for every thirty hours worked. In the alternative, employers may choose to provide the full amount of sick leave, at the beginning of each calendar year or at the beginning of a twelve-month period as determined by the employer.

However, if an employer chooses the alternate method of accrual, leave cannot be reduced if an employee works fewer hours than originally anticipated.

Accrued leave may be used for a variety of reasons impacting either the employee or a member of their family for whom they are providing care or assistance with care after a verbal or written request to the employer. The leave may be taken as “sick leave” or “safe leave.” The sick leave may relate to mental or physical illness or injury regardless of whether the employee has a diagnosis.

Safe leave is a new concept in New York law and is also permitted for an absence from work when the employee himself/herself or an employee’s family member has been the victim of domestic violence as defined by the State Human Rights Law. Safe leave includes work absences to obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, to meet with an attorney or social services provider, as well as to file a complaint with law enforcement or even to enroll your children in a new school.

The amount of sick leave/safe leave is determined by an employer’s size and net income in a given calendar year. Sick leave of one form or another is required to be provided by all employers across New York State.

  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income less than $1 million must provide 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per calendar year;
  • Employers with 5-99 employees and employers with 4 or fewer employers and a net income greater than $1 million must provide at least 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year;
  • Employers with 100 or more employees must provide at least 56 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.

Proposed regulations were issued by the New York State Department of Labor and are not yet final, but will hopefully provide answers to many questions relating to the type of documentation an employer can require of an employee confirming eligibility for leave, how and when employees are counted, as well as how to count time worked in increments of less than 30 hours for calculating accruals. For further and up to date information please visit:

Burger Law Group PLLC will continue following the development of paid sick leave and is available to answer questions. Please contact us by telephone or at [email protected] to set up an initial consultation.