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Westchester Employers Face Multiple Paid Leave Requirements in 2021

Posted by [email protected] on Jan. 5, 2021  /   0

Westchester Employers Face Multiple Paid Leave Requirements in 2021

By Tracey I. Levy

A patchwork of state and county paid leave laws may have Westchester employers confused as to their legal obligations.  The county’s paid sick leave law has largely been preempted by a new New York State paid sick leave law, which is fully in effect as of January 1, 2021.  Overlapping, but not superceded, is the county’s paid safe leave law, which provides eligible employees in the county with additional paid leave time if they are a victim of domestic violence or human trafficking.  Also, for the duration of the pandemic, employers need to comply with their paid and unpaid leave obligations under New York State’s COVID-19 leave law.  While the federal equivalent to that law, as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), expired as of December 31, 2020, the state law has no specific sunset provision and remains effective for as long as employees are being quarantined for reasons related to COVID-19.  New York State’s COVID-19 law imposes paid leave obligations on employers that are in addition to their obligations under the state’s new paid sick leave law. 

The impact of this overlap can be considerable, amounting to as much as 20 days of combined paid leave for employers with more than 100 employees:

  • 10 workdays (14 calendar days) of paid COVID-19 leave if an employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation order; plus
  • 5 workdays of paid sick leave if an employee or a member of the employee’s family is otherwise sick or injured, or needs a medical diagnosis or preventive medical care; plus
  • 5 workdays of paid safe leave if an employee is a victim of domestic violence or human trafficking.

For the next three months, through March 31, 2021, employers can offset the payroll cost of meeting their COVID-19 paid leave obligations with federal payroll tax credits, up to the limits imposed under the FFCRA, as a result of an extension of that benefit under the most recent federal COVID-19 relief package.

The following table helps to further illustrate the overlapping requirements under the paid leave laws:

 

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