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Perspectives

New Sick Leave Protections for Employees

Congress and the New York State Legislature have also enacted significant new employment-related legislation. At the federal level, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act expands many employees’ rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It also enacts a new Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act which grants paid sick leave to workers who are unable to work due to the coronavirus, such as those who must self-isolate or stay home to take care of children whose schools or childcare are unavailable. Employers are required to provide employees with notice of the new sick leave laws. If the workplace is closed so that a poster on the wall would be ineffective, the notice can be disseminated by other means such as e-mail. Employers may be able to obtain tax credits for salaries and health benefits paid for employees taking leave.

New York State has also enacted sick-leave and job protections for employees who miss work due to coronavirus. We have prepared a question-and-answer fact sheet summarizing both the federal and New York employment legislation. If you have not already received a copy, please ask your contact at the firm for one.

For those employees who have lost their jobs, the CARES Act provides federal funding to increase unemployment benefits for workers who lose their jobs. Many such employees will be eligible to receive benefits for up to 39 weeks instead of the usual 26 weeks, and an additional $600 per week of unemployment benefits during the four-month period from April to July 2020.