Labor and Employment Practice


Posted on: March 25, 2020

In response to the growing health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, the federal and New York State governments have recently enacted legislation to provide and mandate paid sick leave and wage replacement for employees and workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”). Among other things, the Act creates a federal emergency paid leave benefits program to provide payments to some employees and tax credits to some employers. Specifically, under the Act, employers with fewer than 500 employees must provide employees with up to 80 hours of paid sick leave, depending on the employee’s full or part-time status, if employees are unable to work because they are (i) subject to quarantine or isolation; (ii) exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19;or (iii) caring for someone who is in quarantine or isolation, or a child whose school/childcare center is closed due to the outbreak.

Employees who are affected because they have COVID-19, or are exhibiting symptoms, must receive full pay, at a maximum of $511.00 per day, and employees who need to stay home to care for a child due to a school/daycare closure must receive two-thirds pay, at a maximum of $200.00 per day. The Act also provides for three months of paid family and medical leave at no less than two-thirds of the employee’s standard pay. Employers who provide qualified sick and family leave wages under the Act will be reimbursed through a payroll tax credit.

On March 18, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed A10153 (the “Bill”) that provides paid sick leave and wage replacement for employees who are impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Bill requires employers, depending on the size of their company and net income during the last fiscal year, to provide at least 5 and up to 14 days of paid sick leave for any employees that are under quarantine or isolation orders by government health officials. After the employer’s obligation to provide paid leave expires under the Bill, the employer is required to provide unpaid sick leave, if necessary, for the remainder of the employee’s quarantine or isolation. Additionally, employees under quarantine or isolation and receiving unpaid sick leave, or employees whose employers have been shut down temporarily or permanently due to the COVID-19 outbreak, are eligible for Paid Family Leave and Temporary Disability Insurance benefits from the state under the Bill.

We encourage our clients to contact our Firm’s labor and employment law specialists for more information and further details concerning the application of the newly enacted federal and state legislation discussed above.