Effective September 30, 2020, all employers in New York State must allow their employees to accrue sick leave, which the employees may begin using as of January 1, 2021. How much sick leave employees are entitled to accrue and whether the sick leave must paid or unpaid depends on the employer’s size and net income as set forth in this chart:

The sick leave provided by this law may be used for the following purposes:

  • For a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition of such employee or such employee’s family member, regardless of whether such illness, injury, or health condition has been diagnosed or requires medical care at the time that such employee requests such leave;
  • For 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, such employee or such employee’s family member; or
  • For an absence from work due to any of the following reasons when the employee or employee’s family member has been the victim of domestic violence as defined under New York law, a family offense, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking:
  1. to obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other services program;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. to file a complaint or domestic incident report with law enforcement;
  5. to meet with a district attorney’s office;
  6. to enroll children in a new school; or
  7. 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.

There are additional provisions in the law which address carryover of unused sick leave from one calendar year to the next, the types of documentation that employers may request, and how this law interplays with local sick leave laws such as those in effect in New York City and Westchester County.

Employers can provide the full amount of sick leave entitlement to employees at the beginning of the year (otherwise known as “frontloading”) or allow their employees to accrue sick leave at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to the minimums stated above. An employer is not required to provide additional sick leave if the sick leave that it already provides meets all of the law’s requirements, including that it is available to both full and part-time employees, complies with the minimum accrual and carryover obligations and may be used for all of the reasons set forth in the law.

For more information about the law’s requirements and assistance updating your leave policies and employee handbook, please contact us at or (631) 794-7400.