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State Budget Expands Sick Leave

The 2020-21 budget deal, which lawmakers were still voting on as of late this afternoon, expands and codifies an emergency sick leave measures the Legislature initially passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All workers across the state are required to get between five and seven days of sick leave.

Businesses that have fewer than five employees and less than $1 million in annual revenue will be required required to offer up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave. Businesses with revenues of at least $1 million and those with between five and 99 employees must offer up to 40 hours of paid sick leave. Employers with more than 100 employees must offer up to 56 hours.

Paid sick leave was part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pre-coronavirus agenda, which he laid out in January. Given the unprecedented public health crisis the state, nation and globe are now facing, this initiative became an easy sell with the Legislature.

“The Senate Majority understands that New Yorkers are struggling due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the economic downturn as businesses work to stay open and pay employees,” the Senate Democrats declared in a press release.

Employees will start to earn the leave as soon as they’re hired, at least an hour for every 30 worked. Sick leave can be taken even if the worker is not personally ill, but needs to care for a family member. Also eligible for leave: Victims of domestic violence seeking assistance from an attorney or law enforcement official.

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