New York State has passed a law guaranteeing pay and job security for employees forced to quarantine themselves as a result of the coronavirus. The law comes as many New Yorkers are forced to work from home, and many others are left jobless due to quarantine procedures. The purpose of the new law is to protect people’s jobs and incomes at a time when it’s unclear how many businesses will be able to open again once the threat of the coronavirus passes.
The 2019 novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a highly infectious disease marked by symptoms like the seasonal flu, causing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. However, the symptoms of the disease can be significantly more severe, with a fatality rate estimated to be around three percent. The coronavirus can spread by contact with contaminated surfaces, by contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is infected, or by inhaling airborne viruses. While work to fight the disease is ongoing, there is currently no vaccine or treatment proved to be effective against the coronavirus.
Considering these facts, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a quarantine, closing all restaurants except for delivery or pick-up, and closing all bars, movie theaters and sports venues. While an important step in containing the coronavirus, this necessarily left many low-income workers without a paycheck. The new law seeks to remedy this by requiring employers to provide paid and protected sick leave to all employees forced into quarantine or isolation by protective orders issued by the government. It also expands the New York Paid Family Leave law and Disability Benefits Law to protect New Yorkers dealing with family illness or personal disability during quarantine and isolation.
There are two significant groups of people not protected by the new laws. The first are people under quarantine who can continue working by remote access or are otherwise not eligible for benefits under the Paid Family Leave law or Disability Benefits Law. The second are those quarantined due to voluntary travel to certain high-risk countries, who are entitled to unpaid sick leave instead of paid sick leave.
If you have gotten into a legal dispute with your employer, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer who can protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 39 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. To schedule an appointment with New York City employment lawyer Steven Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000.