Chances are, as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on with new variants and spikes, employees may be looking to their employers for wage replacement benefits while they are out on quarantine.
The good news is, eligible employees can still receive benefits under the NY Emergency Paid Sick Leave law, which was signed into law almost 2 years ago on March 18, 2020. But just as variants of COVID-19 have emerged, there are new variances and updates to New York’s original Emergency Paid Sick Leave benefits.
Let’s take a look at what has changed for 2022 and what remains the same. Check back here, or on our COVID-19 Resource Center – we’ll continue to post updates when NYS changes its regulations and/or guidance.
NY Emergency COVID-19 Benefits in 2022: What’s Changed?
The quarantine/isolation period is now 5 days (not 10 or 14 days)
As of Jan 4, 2022, NYS adopted the CDC guideline of 5 days for most workers:
- NYS now recommends a quarantine of up to 5 benefit days – if the employee is showing symptoms. If, at the end of the 5-day period, the employee is still experiencing a fever, or symptoms are not improving, they should continue to quarantine for 5 more days.
- If the employees are not showing symptoms as of day 5, they may continue to work as they had before testing positive.*
- The NY Department of Health (DOH) created the Isolation & Quarantine table to clarify its quarantine guidelines.
The Federal law (“Families First Coronavirus Response Act”)(FFCRA) has expired.
Now that federal paid sick leave programs have ended, eligible employees may receive wage reimbursement under the New York Emergency Paid Sick Leave law (“EPSL”)– through employer-provided sick leave or partial wage reimbursement through their Disability Benefits Law (DBL) / Paid Family Leave (PFL) insurance carrier, depending upon the company size and annual net income (as of January 1, 2020). More details on eligibility are below. Please note, sick requirements under NY Emergency Paid Sick Leave are separate from any other state-mandated sick leave or employee accruals. Sick leave requirements under NY Emergency Paid Sick Leave are only applicable to self-quarantine. There is no sick leave requirement for minor quarantine claims.
Plus, this infographic has been updated to provide you with details on how much eligible employees may expect to receive and by whom in 2022!
When caring for a family member, COVID-19 is no longer a “serious health condition”
The New York Workers Compensation Board no longer classifies COVID-19 as a serious health condition for “regular Paid Family Leave” benefits for family care. It’s now treated similar to a cold or flu. If the family member has COVID-19 complications – is hospital confined, under a course of prescription treatment, or received treatment at least 2 separate times for the condition by their health care provider, it might be a covered event. More details on what is considered a serious health condition for PFL purposes can be found here.
Let’s look at an example**:
Sally needs to take care of her parent, John, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 Pneumonia. John was hospitalized for 3 days and received IV antibiotics and was released from the hospital on supplemental oxygen. John’s case is considered a serious health condition because he was hospital confined AND he also received prescription medication to help treat his condition. He’s also receiving ongoing treatment for the condition. Assuming Sally met all other eligibility criteria and the Doctor provided the necessary detail on the PFL-4 form, this would be a covered event for family caregiving under PFL.
Eligible employees may file a claim to care for their minor dependent child who is under quarantine due to COVID-19 through NY Emergency Paid Sick Leave as a Paid Family Leave claim.
NY Emergency COVID-19 Benefits in 2022: What Remains the Same?
Eligibility for benefits
To be eligible for Emergency COVID-19 benefits, employees must first meet overall DBL/PFL eligibility:
- Full-time employees: 26 consecutive weeks at current employer prior to the 1st requested Emergency Paid Sick Leave day to qualify for PFL benefits, and 4 weeks for DBL benefits.
- Part-time employees: 175 days worked at current employer prior to the 1st requested Emergency Paid Sick Leave day to qualify for PFL benefits, and 25 working days for DBL benefits.
Download this handy infographic with more eligibility details – recently updated for 2022!
NY Emergency COVID-19 Benefits are limited to 3 Quarantines
NYS guidance limits Emergency Paid Sick Leave benefits to no more than 3 COVID-19 quarantines where the employee has tested positive on the second and third incidents. There is no self-quarantine leave available if the employee is under a second or third quarantine and is not COVID+.
Eligible Employees Continue to Have Job Protection
Regardless of business size and annual net income, an eligible employee’s job is protected under NY Emergency Paid Sick Leave law. This means that they may not face retaliation or loss of a job due to being out of work under quarantine – even if they are out three times having tested positive for COVID-19 on the second and third time!
Orders of Quarantine are still required – for now
Eligible employees still need to get an Order of Quarantine from their local health department . (you can drill down to your county’s DOH here, then select COVID-19 and follow the links to the Orders of Quarantine). However, please note: alternatives to the Order of Quarantine/Isolation such as the self-attestation form (Affirmation of Isolation for COVID+ individuals, or Affirmation of Quarantine for exposure to COVID+ case), or a lab-confirmed positive test for the individual requiring leave are also accepted. Self-attestation forms for Isolation and Quarantine as published by NYS are available in our COVID-19 Resource Center.
How to file claims
If you receive DBL/PFL benefits from ShelterPoint, you can submit your COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave claim to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if your company uses a different insurance company, check your carrier’s website.
By NYS law carriers have been given 18 days from receipt of a COMPLETED claim to make a determination.
We are here to help! We encourage you to visit our COVID-19 Resource Center first.
Still need help? Contact our customer support email@example.com and one of our reps would be happy to assist you.
* Guidance for healthcare workers is slightly different, please refer to the CDCand/or NYS Dept of Health guidance for the latest quarantine/isolation information for healthcare workers.
**This 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.
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 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 regarding Paid Family Leave regulations.