Metzger and Senate Seek Relief for Workers and Small Businesses Affected by COVID-19 Pandemic Containment

Albany, NY…Today the State Senate passed legislation (S8091) ensuring employees in New York State will be able to access paid leave if they are subject to a mandatory or precautionary quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The Senate bill also waives the seven-day waiting period before New Yorkers can apply for unemployment insurance. 

“This legislation will provide critical relief to New York workers and slow transmission of the virus while protecting small businesses from incurring additional costs in this difficult time,” said Senator Jen Metzger. "People should not have to choose between putting food on the table and taking the necessary precautions to protect public health. This bill makes sure that those who must self-quarantine will continue to have the security of a paycheck." 

The bill provides for paid leave of up to 14 days for employees subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation. For small businesses with ten or fewer employees, the costs of paid leave would be fully covered by the state's paid family leave and temporary disability insurance programs. Businesses with between 11 and 99 employees would be responsible for five days of paid leave, with the balance covered by the two state programs. Employers with 100 or more employees, along with government institutions, would be responsible for the cost of paid leave for the duration of the two-week required quarantine or isolation period.

In addition to today’s bill passage, Senator Metzger is also advancing the following initiatives to help small businesses:

  • Calls on Governor to delay the sales tax deadline and provide small businesses with need relief

Senator Metzger has signed on to a letter with Senate colleagues urging Governor Cuomo to delay sales tax revenue collection for small businesses scheduled for this Friday, March 20.

“It’s unreasonable to require small businesses to submit sales tax revenue this week as they are struggling with the impacts of this public health crisis," said Senator Metzger.We urge the Governor to accept the State Comptroller’s recommendation to delay sales tax revenue collection without penalty, and give our small businesses the breathing room they need." 

  • Co-sponsors bill to create an emergency small business loan program

Metzger co-sponsors a new bill (S2520C) to help small businesses and not-for-profits weather the economic and financial impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. The bill creates a loan program that would allow eligible financial institutions to make zero-interest loans to small businesses and non-profit organizations of up to $50,000 thousand. Repayment would not begin until at least 90 days after the state of emergency ends. 

“Many small businesses and non-profits such as daycares are experiencing steep declines in profits and revenues, putting their businesses in jeopardy," said Senator Metzger. "These funds can help them pay such costs as rent and utilities, and provide a bridge to expected federal assistance programs." 

Senator Metzger's district offices continue to assist constituents with COVID-19-related issues, and are providing regular updates on state, federal, and local actions to address this public health emergency. Constituents can sign up to receive emails by going to web address bit.ly/jen-news.