20 March 2020

NY “Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave”

Benefits for NY employees who can’t work while under order of quarantine

NY “Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave”

*Updated as of May 17, 2020.

Until the Federal law (“Families First Coronavirus Response Act”) becomes the primary source of COVID-19 paid sick leave on April 1, 2020, NY’s “Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave” is the first step to help ease some of the financial strains for employees who can’t work while under official order of quarantine due to the pandemic. Thereafter, some New Yorkers may still qualify for NY’s emergency benefits, e.g., if they exceed the federal salary cap or if their quarantine lasts longer than the 2 weeks under the Federal law. Learn more about the Federal law here or how the two laws compare and coordinate here.

 

How is COVID-19 quarantine defined under the NY law? Under what circumstances does a quarantine qualify for benefits under this act?

“Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave” applies to employees who are ordered by the State of NY, Department of Health, a local Board of Health, or any other governmental entity to be under mandatory or precautionary quarantine/isolation due to COVID-19.

  • The “Order of Quarantine” is official written documentation issued to individuals who need to be isolated. See a sample here.
  • The quarantine/isolation under this act does NOT apply to New York State on Pause or general stay-at-home orders.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)* define isolation and quarantine as follows:
  • Isolation separates sick people with a quarantinable communicable disease from people who are not sick.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Further, in order to qualify, the employee must be unable to perform their core job duties or any alternative responsibilities the employer may offer during the quarantine.

If the employee doesn’t show any symptoms (or has not been diagnosed yet) and can work while under quarantine, “Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave” benefits do not apply.

 

Does the NY law apply to employees not working due to “New York State on Pause” or stay-at-home orders in NY State?

No, the “Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave” or “New York State on Pause” does not apply if an employee has to stay home or work remotely for circumstances other than a mandatory quarantine described above. This means, the following situations, for example, do not apply:

  • Watching kids during school closure
  • Working from home
  • Voluntarily self-quarantining “just in case”
  • Being home because the business is temporarily closed

 

How does the COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave work?

Eligible employees receive job protection (in form of job restoration and non-retaliation provisions) and paid sick leave during the time of their qualified quarantine. The actual benefit structure depends on the size and annual net income of the employer:

COVID-19 Benefit Structure for Self-Care

COVID-19 Benefit Structure to Care for a Minor

1ShelterPoint does not administer claims for the Federal law. Please speak to your employer for details about the Federal law as these benefits may be provided by them.
2Quarantine days before 03/18/2020 are not compensated through NY’s Emergency DBL/PFL Quarantine Benefits.
With the Federal law (“Families First Coronavirus Response Act”)(” FFCRA) being in effect from 04/01/2020 to 12/31/2020, benefits under the NY emergency law will only be applicable to New Yorkers who either exceed the Federal law’s salary cap (they can then apply for supplemental benefits bridging between the Federal and State caps) or whose qualified quarantine lasts longer than 14 days. Learn more about how the two laws interact here.

3Employees at larger employers (100+ lives) who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are still out after 2 weeks of their employer-provided sick pay, may be eligible for basic, standard DBL benefits for the remainder of their quarantine (maximum benefit of $170/week, or, if the employer provides an enhanced DBL benefit level, at the respective coverage level of the policy in force).
4 Basic, standard DBL benefits as described in footnote above; official Order of Quarantine document not required for extended quarantine days for employees at larger employers (a doctor’s note with diagnosis suffices in this case).
5Learn more about
how PFL benefits are calculated here

6If the employee qualifies under the Federal law, the employer may be required to provide paid sick leave for the first 14 days during which the employee is caring for their child, who is sick at home and under official Order of Quarantine. In that case Emergency PFL Quarantine benefits may kick in for the remaining time if the quarantine lasts longer than 14 days. Learn more about the Federal law here.
7 Regular PFL benefits are used to provide care for another qualified family member.

 

How long does the NY COVID-19 Sick Leave last?

The intended duration is the period of quarantine, which is 14 days in most cases. However, there are a few things to note:

  • “Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave” became effective on March 18th and does not retroactively apply to quarantine days before that date.
  • If a qualified quarantine started prior to that date and stretches past March 18th, only the days from March 18th onward qualify.
  • Once the Federal “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” goes into effect, it becomes the primary source for benefits (unless NY has richer benefits or the quarantine lasts longer than 2 weeks, see below for details). This includes quarantines stretching from March into April. This means, employees will have to coordinate with their employer for the remainder of their quarantine. Learn more about how the two laws interact here. 

 

Is New York’s COVID-19 sick leave coming from the employee’s own bucket of accrued sick leave days?

No, the Sick Leave provided under this act is not taken from an employee’s accruals.

 

Is the COVID-19 benefit duration under Emergency DBL/PFL reducing the total available benefit time available under those coverages?

Yes, Emergency DBL/PFL time taken under COVID-19 benefits counts as duration taken under State Disability (maximum of 26 weeks per year) and Paid Family Leave (maximum of 10 weeks in 2020) and reduces the remaining benefit durations accordingly.

 

How much is the Emergency DBL/PFL Quarantine benefit?

The combined maximum of $2,884.62/week consists of both a Paid Family Leave portion and a short-term disability portion even though this applies to an employee’s self-care during a qualified quarantine. Both benefits run concurrently, meaning one part of your COVID-19 sick pay is paid through PFL and the rest through DBL at the same time:

  • The first 60% of the weekly salary are paid through the Paid Family Leave benefit bucket, to a maximum of $840.70/week.
  • The amount of the DBL benefit depends on the employee’s weekly salary – it’s the difference between the salary less the PFL portion of the benefit. The DBL portion is capped at $2,043.92/week.

Here are 3 examples:

 

Weekly salary

 

PFL benefit portion

(60% of weekly salary, capped at $840.70)

 

Weekly salary minus PFL amount

(capped at $2,043.92)

Total DBL/PFL Quarantine benefit amount/week

Jane

$1,000.00

$600.00

$400.00

$1,000.00

Jamal

$2,000.00

$840.70

$1,159.30

$2,000.00

Anne

$3,000.00

$840.70

$2,043.92

$2,884.62

 

When does the Emergency DBL/PFL Quarantine benefit start?

Emergency DBL/PFL Quarantine Benefits under this Act start on the employee’s first full day of unpaid quarantine starting March 18th. Here’s what that means:

  • If an eligible quarantine started prior to that date and stretches past March 18th, only the quarantine days from March 18th onward qualify.
  • Employees at a small business with less than 10 employees – and that has less than $1m in annual net income – are eligible to get their benefits fully through their DBL/PFL insurance.
  • However, if a small business with 1-10 employee has more than $1m in annual net income, the employer has to pay the first 5 days before the special emergency DBL/PFL quarantine benefits become payable to cover the remaining quarantine time from day 6 on.
  • The same applies to businesses that have between 11 and 99 employees.
  • Employees at organizations with 100+ employees and employees of public employers do not get special emergency DBL/PFL quarantine benefits under this Act – their employer must continue their full salary. After the 14 days, employees may apply for regular DBL benefits if their quarantine extends beyond this time frame.
     

If any of the quarantine days extend beyond April 1, 2020, when the Federal law takes effect, please read this article to learn how the two laws interact and coordinate.

 

Does NY’s Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave apply to the Quarantine/Isolation of an Employee’s Child?

Yes. An employee, who has to care for their minor dependent under quarantine/isolation, qualifies for benefits under NY’s Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave. They receive the same job protection as employees who are unable to work due to their own qualified quarantine. The benefit level is different however: their benefit amount is based on regular Paid Family Leave with a current maximum benefit of $840.70 per week for the duration of the quarantine.

 

When does the Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Law take effect?

The provisions of the quarantine legislation take effect immediately upon the date of Governor Cuomo’s signature (March 18, 2020) ensuring that New York workers will be able to take advantage of these benefits starting March 18th.  However, the “Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave” does not retroactively apply to quarantines before that date. So, if an eligible quarantine started prior to that date and stretches past March 18th, only the days from March 18th onward qualify.

 

How does NY’s Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave relate to the Federal “Families First Coronavirus Response Act”?

Once in effect on April 1, 2020, the Federal law may be the primary benefit source for NY employees in need of COVID-19 related benefits. But some New Yorkers may still qualify for NY emergency benefits, e.g., if they’re earning more than the federal salary cap or if their quarantine lasts longer than the 2 weeks of Federal benefits. However, the reasons for leave are more liberal under the Federal law than under NY’s “Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave” law. Learn more about how the two laws compare and coordinate here.

 

We will post updates on the claims process and other details in our COVID-19 Resource Center as they emerge. Be sure to subscribe for updates to stay current on the latest information we have available.

 

* https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/aboutlawsregulationsquarantineisolation.html

 

This blog post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal counsel. Please consult with an appropriate professional for legal and compliance advice. Any Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave, Disability Benefits Law (DBL) and/or Paid Family Leave (PFL) information is as of the blog post’s date stamp; it is based on the applicable statutes and regulation, and may change as regulations evolve or NY State issues guidance.

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