On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a three-way agreement with the Legislature on a bill guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The program bill also includes the permanent comprehensive paid sick leave policy.
This follows the Governor’s announcement last week that the state will guarantee two full weeks of paid leave for all state workers who are subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine as a result of the novel coronavirus.
The Governor announced that the state’s drive-through COVID-19 mobile testing facility opens today on Long Island. The Governor also authorized the State to open drive-through COVID-19 mobile testing facilities in Suffolk County, Rockland County and on Staten Island. This follows the success of the New Rochelle mobile testing center, which opened March 13th. Drive-through mobile testing facilities help keep people who are sick or at risk of having contracted coronavirus out of healthcare facilities where they could infect other people. These facilities are a critical part of the Governor’s nation-leading program to test thousands of people per day for COVID-19 by this week.
The Governor also announced that the state is reaching out to qualified former doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to supplement the personnel at hospitals. The State Department of Health and the State Education Department have sent letters to retired health care professionals and all schools of nursing, public health and medicine encouraging qualified health care personnel to sign up for on-call work during the COVID-19 crisis. Healthcare professionals who wish to sign up can contact the State Department of Health at health.ny.gov/assistance.
Governor Cuomo also directed the Greater New York Hospital Association and the Healthcare Association of New York State to work with 1199 SEIU to develop a plan to create drop-in child care opportunities and expand child care facilities at their hospitals to ensure child care for hospital workforce. They will submit a joint plan to the state by Friday.
“The single most effective way to contain the spread of this virus is to ensure people who may have come into contact with it do not interact with others. Last week I said we would lead by example by guaranteeing two weeks’ pay for state workers who have been quarantined as a result of covid-19,” Governor Cuomo said. “The paid sick leave measure we’ve agreed to today expands those protections to all new Yorkers – because no New Yorker should lose their job or income for following a critical public health order. This is an extraordinary time in this nation’s history, and it will go down in the history books as one of those moments of true crisis and confusion. So my message to New Yorkers is this: Be a little bit more sensitive, understand the stress, understand the fear, be a little bit more loving, a little bit more compassionate, a little bit more comforting, a little bit more cooperative. We are going to get through it and we are going to get through it together.”
To address the immediate need of employees affected by COVID-19 who are subject to mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation, the Governor’s legislation will provide the following:
– Employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income less than $1 million will provide job protection for the duration of the quarantine order and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine including wage replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.
– Employers with 11-99 employees and employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million will provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave, job protection for the duration of the quarantine order, and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine including wage replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.
– Employers with 100 or more employees, as well as all public employers (regardless of number of employees), will provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave and guarantee job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.
The provisions of the quarantine legislation are set to take effect immediately upon passage, ensuring that New York workers will be able to take advantage of these benefits.
The legislation also includes the comprehensive paid sick leave proposal that was advanced by the Governor as part of his State of the State and FY 2021 Executive Budget, which will be effective 180 days after enactment. Specifically, the legislation provides:
- Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income less than $1 million will provide at least 5 days of unpaid sick leave each year.
- Employers with 5-99 employees and employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million will provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave each year.
- Employers with 100 or more employees will provide at least 7 days of paid sick leave each year.
Finally, the Governor confirmed 432 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 1,374 confirmed cases in New York State.