After almost one month since going into effect, New York State has issued the first round of guidance on the New York State Paid Sick Leave Law (“NYSSL”) on October 20, 2020. As we recently reported, the NYSSL requires all private employers in the State to provide employees with forty (40) to fifty-six (56) hours of sick leave per year, depending on employer size and net income.

The “New York State Paid Sick Leave FAQ” (the “Guidance”) contains forty-four (44) questions and answers that address a variety of topics regarding the implementation of the NYSSL. Some of the more substantive topics include:

  • An employer’s option to frontload sick leave at the beginning of the calendar year and how to calculate such sick leave for part-time employees;
  • Lack of a specific notice or time period requirement before employees’ use of sick leave under the NYSSL;
  • Non-accrual of sick leave during non-working hours;
  • Further descriptions of permitted uses of sick time, including whether employees may use accrued sick leave when an employer has been temporarily closed due to a public health emergency;
  • New employee eligibility for sick leave;
  • Accrual of sick leave for employees who telecommute outside of New York State;
  • Rate of pay for sick leave;
  • Interplay of the NYSSL with other leave laws, including the New York City Paid Safe and Sick Time Act; and
  • Required language for collective bargaining agreements to comply with the NYSSL.

While the Guidance sheds light on the issues listed above, the FAQs do not address many other significant areas of confusion. For example, the Guidance does not address whether an employer may ask an employee to submit documentation to support his/her need for sick leave. Further, this initial guidance fails to clarify whether multi-state employers are required to count their employees nationwide in the overall employee headcount.

New York State employers should review the Guidance and stay-up-to-date with any future developments. Due to several critical ambiguities within the NYSSL, employers should also consult with counsel to review their sick time or paid time off policies.