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New law prevents public employers from penalizing workers who miss time due to COVID

Public sector employers will be prevented from penalizing workers who use sick leave or other types of paid time off to quarantine or seek medical treatment relative to a COVID-19 diagnosis, according to a new bill signed into law this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The law comes as more of the workforce is heading back to work, and as reports of the Delta Variant continue to circulate.

“From the beginning of this national public health crisis, we have done everything possible to protect those New Yorkers who needed to make sacrifices in order to cope with the hardships of COVID,” Cuomo said. “No one should have to suffer a penalty for missing work because of COVID, and under this new law, every public employee in our state will get the protection they deserve – so they don’t have to face unfair consequences for doing what was necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

The law was essentially drafted to boost rights for workers, and to also guarantee paid leave for those who may have had to take time away.

“Eight hundred ninety-three correction officers who tested positive and were forced to utilize their sick time to comply with the requirements that were set out by the Department of Health were declared chronically absent,” said Sen. Diane Savino. “This determination is considered an adverse disciplinary action that goes into effect after an officer has missed 11 days of work – a determination can have an impact on their pay, promotion, hours and makes many of them vulnerable to potential layoffs.”