Insights

New Yorkers Receive Job Protection and Debt Assistance Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a three-way agreement with the Legislature on a bill protecting New Yorkers' jobs and pay during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The bill guarantees the following benefits for employees who are subject to mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19:
 
  • Employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income of less than $1 million must protect the jobs of affected employees for the duration of the quarantine order. Access to paid family leave and short-term disability benefits must also be provided, including wage replacement up to $150,000.
  • Employers with 11-99 employees, as well as employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million, must provide at least five days of paid sick leave and job protection for the duration of the quarantine order. Access to paid family leave and short-term disability benefits must also be provided, including wage replacement up to $150,000.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees, as well as all public employers (regardless of number of employees), must provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave and guarantee job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.
 
These temporary provisions took effect immediately upon passage of the program bill.
 
Permanent Paid Sick Leave Provisions

The legislation also included the Governor's comprehensive paid sick leave provisions that will take effect 180 days after enactment. These permanent provisions include:
 
  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income of less than $1 million must provide at least 5 days of unpaid sick leave each year.
  • Employers with 5-99 employees, as well as employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million, must provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave each year.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees must provide at least 7 days of paid sick leave each year. 

Debt Assistance

The governor also announced that the state will temporarily halt the collection of medical and student debt that is owed to the State of New York and was referred to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) for collection between March 16, 2020 and April 15, 2020. The collections will be suspended for at least 30 days, after which the OAG will reassess the needs of New Yorkers for an additional extension, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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