(WSYR-TV) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that New Yorkers can begin using sick leave benefits starting Jan. 1, 2021. This legislation secures paid sick leave for workers at medium and large businesses and paid or unpaid leave for small businesses, depending on an employer’s net income.

New Yorkers can now use guaranteed sick leave to recover from an illness, care for a sick family member or address safety needs if they or a family member are the victim of the following:

  • Domestic violence
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Human trafficking

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, we knew that no one should have to make the unimaginable choice between keeping their job or caring for themselves or a loved one. This public health crisis has put that need in even greater relief. Now, as we continue to beat back COVID and build a stronger New York, we are expanding this fundamental right to all New Yorkers. New York has long championed workers’ rights, and this strongest-in-the-nation paid sick leave law will help millions of our neighbors stay healthy—a boon for both businesses’ bottom line and New Yorkers’ well-being.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

No one should have to choose between going to work sick or caring for a sick loved one and not getting a paycheck, especially as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. That is why in New York, we have the most comprehensive paid family leave and paid sick leave programs in the nation that serve as a model for other states to follow. This is part of our ongoing efforts to help ensure equal access, opportunity and success for all hard-working men and women in New York State.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul

New Yorkers earn sick leave based on hours they work, earning one hour of leave for every 30 hours they work. It is retroactive to Sept. 30, 2020.

New York’s new law requires businesses to provide different levels of sick levels depending on their size:

  • Businesses with 100 or more employees: Must provide up to seven days (56 hours) of paid sick leave per year
  • Businesses with five to 99 employees: Must provide up to five days (40 hours) of paid sick leave per year
  • Businesses with fewer than five employees, but a net income of more than $1 million: Must provide up to five days (40 hours) of paid sick leave per year
  • Smaller businesses with fewer than five employees and a net income of less than $1 million: Must provide up to five days (40 hours) of unpaid sick leave. Those already providing paid sick leave can continue to do so.

The lack of a paid sick leave policy was hurting our most vulnerable New Yorkers, and that is simply unacceptable. Governor Cuomo has been a champion for workers – and under his leadership, New York has been a progressive leader on issues important to working families. With this new law, we will remain at the forefront of the effort to restore economic parity and secure social justice for all. New Yorkers will no longer have to choose between staying home and getting healthy, or going to work to pay their bills.

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon

Prior to this law, approximately 1.3 million New Yorkers didn’t have access to paid sick leave. Nearly one-in-four workers had reported being fired or threatened with termination for taking sick time.