22 July 2020

COVID-19 NY Paid Sick Leave and Health Care Employers

New guidance released jointly by the New York State Departments of Health and Labor limits how often health care employees can receive quarantine benefits

COVID-19 NY Paid Sick Leave and Health Care Employers

New guidance released jointly by the New York State Departments of Health and Labor limits how often health care employees who test positive for COVID-19 can receive quarantine benefits under New York’s “Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave” law.

 

Who is considered a “health care employee” under the NY “Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave” law?

New York’s “Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave” defines a health care employee as a person employed at a(n):

  • doctor’s office

  • hospital

  • long-term care facility

  • outpatient clinic

  • nursing home

  • end stage renal disease facility

  • post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction

  • medical school, local health department or agency

  • assisted living residence

  • adult care facility

  • residence for people with developmental disabilities

  • home health provider

  • emergency medical services agency

  • facility that performs laboratory or medical testing

  • pharmacy

and at any similar institution, including any permanent or temporary institution, facility, location, or site providing similar medical services.

 

When can a health care employee receive New York’s COVID-19 benefits?

If an eligible health care employee tests positive for COVID-19, is under a qualified quarantine (including official order of quarantine/isolation learn more here), and they cannot work remotely, they may still qualify for quarantine benefits under NY’s “Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave”. But the new guidance is limiting how often a health care employee may receive these benefits. We’ll get to the details in the next question.

First let’s just level-set: the same company size guidelines as for any other industries still apply, i.e. depending on the size of the employer, the employer may be responsible for paying the employee sick leave for a portion or all of the quarantine period, such as employees at companies with 100+ employees would not qualify for Emergency Quarantine benefits through their DBL/PFL insurance carrier (get a refresher here). 

Let’s take a look at some examples1:

  • Sue, a billing specialist in a doctor’s office, tested positive for COVID-19 but was asymptomatic and could work remotely from home. Sue was not eligible for NY’s Emergency Paid Sick Leave benefits, because she could still perform her job duties from home. 
  • Yan, an ER nurse, tested positive for COVID-19 and could not continue his job duties unless he was at the hospital.  Yan was eligible to receive NY’s Emergency Paid Sick Leave benefits since he could not work remotely. 

1This example is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to be a guarantee of coverage.  Instead, claims are determined based upon the specific details of each claim upon submission of the claim. 

 

What happens if a health care employee tests positive for COVID-19 more than once?

NY Paid Sick Leave benefits are available to health care employees for up to 3 orders of quarantine – as long as each of the 3 times they tested positive for COVID-19.  

Once the employer has provided the employee the paid sick leave allotted to them (depending on the size of the group) their Emergency COVID-19 DBL/PFL insurance benefits may kick in.  So, if an employee tests positive a second or third time, the benefits may be provided by their employer, their DBL/PFL carrier, or a combination of both, depending on their specific situation.  If a health care employee tests positive a fourth time, they are not eligible for any further benefits. 

Here’s an example2:

Here we have 3 different health care workers, Dawn, Latisha, and Jeff each have 3 quarantines that happen to line up at the same times:

  1. Dawn: Works at a small home health care service with 8 employees and less than $1m annual net income.
  2. Latisha: Works at a doctor’s office with 30 employees.
  3. Jeff: Works at a large hospital with 500 employees.

 

 

Dawn

 

Latisha

 

Jeff

 

 

Emergency Sick Pay and Benefits provided by:

Period of Emergency Sick Pay and Benefits provided

1st Quarantine

(04/01-04/14)

Employer

n/a

04/01-04/07

04/01-04/14

Carrier

04/01-04/14

04/08-04/14

n/a

2nd Quarantine

(05/01-05/14)

Employer

n/a

05/01-05/07

05/01-05/14

Carrier

05/01 - 05/14

05/08-05/14

n/a

3rd Quarantine

(05/15-05/28)

Employer

n/a

05/15-05/21

05/15-05/28

Carrier

05/15 -05/28

05/22-5/28

n/a

4thQuarantine

(06/15-06/28)

 

Employer

n/a

n/a

n/a

Carrier

n/a

n/a

n/a

 

Since Dawn works for a small employer with less than 10 employees, the benefits for all three of her quarantines would be provided by her DBL/PFL insurance carrier.

Latisha would have some of her benefits provided by her employer, and some provided by her DBL/PFL insurance carrier because she works at an employer with 11-99 employees.

And Jeff works at a large employer with more than 100 employees, so his benefits would be provided solely by his employer.

2 This example is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to be a guarantee of coverage.  It assumes the employer is exempt from the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act. For those Employers who are not exempted from Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the picture would look slightly different: The employer would be responsible for the full 10 work days for the first quarantine period for each of the employer sizes, and the carrier would not be responsible for the first quarantine period for any employer size. 

 

Does a health care employee need to provide documentation of a positive COVID-19 test result?

The employee must provide documentation of a positive test result from a licensed medical provider or testing facility.  However, they are not required to do so if the test was administered by their employer.

 

Are health care employees entitled to job protection?

Yes, each occurrence is protected by NY’s Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave law, which provides job protection to all eligible employees in companies of any size.

 

Stay tuned on the latest developments by subscribing to our COVID-19 updates!

 

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Categories: COVID-19 Updates

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