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New Guidance Clarifies New Yorkers’ Rights Under State COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Time Law

If you are an employee in New York, this law may give you important rights to paid time off from work without losing your job when you need to quarantine or isolate because you have, or have been exposed to, COVID-19.
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The New York State Department of Labor recently released new guidance providing clarification on New York’s COVID-19 emergency sick time law. If you are an employee in New York, this law may give you important rights to paid time off from work without losing your job when you need to quarantine or isolate because you have, or have been exposed to, COVID-19. This law is different from New York’s new permanent paid sick time law, which provides broader rights.

The new guidance helps to clarify when, and for how long, eligible employees may qualify for emergency sick time. The guidance also helps to clarify what documentation an eligible employee needs to provide in order to qualify for emergency sick time in some circumstances.

Specifically, the guidance makes clear that:

  • If you are or were previously subject to a period of mandatory quarantine or isolation during which you used sick time under the emergency sick time law, and subsequently test positive for COVID-19, you may be eligible for additional sick time under the law.
  • An employee can qualify for sick leave under New York’s emergency sick time law for up to three orders of quarantine or isolation. Accordingly, you may be entitled to leave under the emergency sick time law for the duration of your order of quarantine/isolation, for up to three separate orders of quarantine/isolation; this could include separate orders that occur back to back, such as if you complete a period of quarantine/isolation and then immediately test positive again. The second and third orders of quarantine/isolation must be based on a positive COVID-19 test.
  • If you are or were previously subject to a period of mandatory quarantine or isolation and subsequently test positive for COVID-19, documentation of your subsequent positive test result is sufficient to qualify you for emergency sick time. You do not need to submit documentation of a positive result if your employer gave you the test for COVID-19 that showed the positive result.

To read the guidance, see here.

For more information on New York’s emergency sick time law and other important rights for New Yorkers related to COVID-19, see here. For more information on how to apply for COVID-19-related leave and benefits for New Yorkers, see here.

If you have questions about your workplace rights related to COVID-19 in New York, contact our free, confidential legal helpline for more information. 

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