New York State Paid Sick Leave Goes Into Effect Sept. 30, 2020

New York State Paid Sick Leave

New York state’s sick leave law requires employers to provide between 40 and 56 hours of paid leave per year, depending on their size. Employers with fewer than five employees and an annual income under $1 million may satisfy the law by providing unpaid leave of 40 hours annually. Leave must be provided for specified reasons relating to the health and safety of employees and their family members. Employees begin accruing leave on Sept. 30, 2020, but may not use the leave until Jan. 1, 2021.

Covered Employers

All New York employers must provide sick leave to their employees. However, only employers with at least five employees or $1 million in annual net income must provide that leave as paid. Furthermore, the amount of leave required is determined by the employer’s size, as set forth below.

Employer Size
Leave Requirement
  • Fewer than 5 employees
  • Annual net income of $1 million or less
Up to 40 unpaid hours annually
  • Fewer than 5 employees
  • Annual net income over $1 million
Up to 40 paid hours annually
  • 5 – 99 employees
Up to 40 paid hours annually
  • Over 100 employees
Up to 56 paid hours annually

In calculating their size, employers should:

  • Count their employees for the 12-month period from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, and
  • Use their annual net income from the previous tax year.

Accrual and Carryover

Employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, beginning at the start of their employment or Sept. 30, 2020, whichever is later. Employers may frontload the total amount of sick leave to employees at the beginning of the year, but they may not later reduce that amount based on the employee’s actual hours worked during the year.

Employees may carry over unused sick leave to the following calendar year. For the purposes of accrual, use and carryover of leave, “calendar year” means the 12-month period from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, or a regular and consecutive 12-month period, as determined by the employer.

Use of Sick Leave

Amount of Leave

Employers with fewer than 100 employees may limit the use of sick leave to 40 hours per calendar year, and employers with 100 or more employees may limit the use of sick leave to 56 hours per calendar year.

Employers may set a reasonable minimum increment for the use of sick leave, but it cannot be more than four hours.

Reasons for Leave

Employers must provide accrued sick leave for the following purposes related to health conditions:

  • An employee’s or employee’s family member’s mental or physical illness, injury or health condition (regardless of whether the illness, injury or health condition has been diagnosed or requires medical care at the time the employee requests leave); or
  • The diagnosis, care or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition of, or need for medical diagnosis of, or preventive care for, an employee or an employee’s family member.

Employers must also provide accrued sick leave for any of the following reasons when the employee or employee’s family member has been the victim of domestic violence (as defined by state law), a family offense, sexual offense, stalking or human trafficking:

  • To obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center or other services program;
  • To participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocate, or take other actions to increase the safety of the employee or employee’s family members;
  • To meet with an attorney or other social services provider to obtain information and advice on, and prepare for or participate in any criminal or civil proceeding;
  • To file a complaint or domestic incident report with law enforcement;
  • To meet with a district attorney’s office;
  • To enroll children in a new school; or
  • To take any other actions necessary to ensure the health or safety of the employee or the employee’s family member or to protect those who associate or work with the employee.

“Family Member” means an employee’s child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, grandchild or grandparent; or the child or parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner. “Parent” means a biological, foster, step- or adoptive parent, a legal guardian of an employee, or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child.
“Child” means a biological, adopted or foster child, a legal ward or a child of an employee standing in loco parentis.

Confidentiality Rules

An employer may not require, as a condition of providing sick leave:

  • The disclosure of confidential medical information
  • Information relating to absence from work due to domestic violence, a sexual offense, stalking or human trafficking


Employees returning to work after taking sick leave must have their position, pay, and terms and conditions of employment restored to what they were before the leave.


Employers are prohibited from discharging, threatening, penalizing, or otherwise discriminating or retaliating against any employee because the employee has exercised his or her right to request and use sick leave.


Employees using paid sick leave must be paid at their regular rate of pay or the applicable minimum wage under state law, whichever is greater.

Employers are not required to pay employees for unused sick leave when their employment ends.

Alternate Leave Policies

Employers with policies that meet or exceed the requirements of the sick leave law are not required to provide employees with additional leave.

Collective bargaining agreements entered into on or after Sept. 30, 2020, may provide comparable paid days off, in the form of leave, compensation, other employee benefits or a combination of the three, in place of leave required by the sick leave law. However, the agreement must acknowledge the sick leave law.


Employers must provide a summary of the amounts of sick leave accrued and used in the current and previous calendar years by any employee who requests the information. The information must be provided within three business days.

Employers must keep records for six years showing the weekly amount of sick leave provided to each employee.

Interaction With Local Leave Laws

Cities with a population of at least one million may enact and enforce local laws meeting or exceeding the requirements of the sick leave law. In addition, municipal paid sick leave programs in effect as of Sept. 30, 2020, are not affected by the sick leave law.

Please Note: The state laws summaries featured on this site are for general informational purposes only. In addition to state law, certain municipalities may enact legislation that imposes different requirements. State and local laws change frequently and, as such, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information featured in the State Laws section. For more detailed information regarding state or local laws, please contact your state labor department or the appropriate local government agency.