Senate Steps Up For Workers Impacted By The Coronavirus Pandemic

(Albany, NY) The Senate today passed legislation to ensure 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, advanced by the Senate Democratic Majority, also waives the 7-day waiting period before New Yorkers can apply for unemployment insurance. This action builds on legislation passed by the Senate to allocate $40 million to help address this crisis.

“Workers should not be penalized if they receive a quarantine or isolation order,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “The legislation passed by the Senate Majority will ensure every New York employee will be able to continue to receive paychecks, without having to charge their available time if they need to undergo a quarantine or isolation. The Senate Majority will continue to work with our colleagues in government to flatten the curve of the disease and protect New Yorkers’ health.”

Chair of the Senate Labor Committee and Bill Sponsor, Senator Jessica Ramos, said, “Working families are the backbone of New York’s economy, and by providing each New Yorker with guaranteed paid sick leave, we’re no longer forcing people to choose between their health and paying for food, rent, or utilities. This is especially important in the wake of the COVID-19 public health emergency we’re facing, as employers require or advise their workers to self-quarantine. I am proud to carry this legislation, and thank our Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Carl Heastie, and Governor Andrew Cuomo for leading our communities toward a safer, more equitable New York.”

The legislation advanced by the Senate Majority, S.8091, will help every employee in the State by ensuring they receive paid leave and guaranteed job security if they have to undergo a mandatory or precautionary quarantine or isolation. This paid leave will last for the duration of their order, and is intended so that New Yorkers listen to these precautions and are not financially punished for helping contain the coronavirus pandemic. This legislation is another example of the Senate Majority’s work to support New York’s small businesses, as it will require state insurance programs to cover the full cost of workers’ salaries for New York’s smallest businesses, and everything following a week of leave for medium businesses.

  • Businesses who have 10 or fewer employees as of January 1, 2020, and a net income under $1 million last fiscal year, will have the full cost of employee’s leave provided by New York State insurance programs, capped at benefits coverage equal to annual salaries of $150,000.
  • Businesses who have 11-99 employees as of January 1, 2020 and businesses who have 10 or fewer employees with a net income greater than $1 million last fiscal year will be required to provide 5 days of paid leave to their employees as well as the rest of the required quarantine or isolation days provided by New York State insurance programs, capped at benefits coverage equal to annual salaries of $150,000.
  • Businesses who have 100 or more employees, and all government institutions, will be required to cover at least 14 days of paid leave.

Senators Involved