Albany, NY–With the inclusion of a strong permanent paid sick days policy in the New York State budget passed this week, New York will now be the 12th state to protect, in law, a worker’s right to earn and use job-protected paid sick leave to care for themselves or their loved ones. The law also includes the right of workers to use paid sick leave for matters relating to experiences of domestic violence, sexual assault or sex trafficking. Citizen Action of New York has been a leading force for the last five years in statewide campaigns to win paid family leave and paid sick days benefits for workers. 

“The current pandemic has made painfully obvious the need for a paid sick leave standard for all workers, and dashed the feeble excuses of those corporate interests who prevented earlier passage. This is an important step forward in the battle for worker’s rights and a demonstration of the power of collective advocacy,” said Blue Carreker, Worker and Gender Justice Campaigns Manager, Citizen Action of New York.

“I fought for guaranteed paid sick days in the Albany County Legislature because thousands of workers in our community don’t have access to a single paid sick day. I’m happy to see that the governor and state leaders included a paid sick days policy in the state budget, and I look forward to working on implementing and expanding it when I’m in the State Assembly. This is an important safety net every single worker deserves, so no one is faced with the impossible choice of going to work sick or risk losing income,” said Sam Fein, Candidate for New York State Assembly District 108 and Albany County Legislator.

The amount of paid sick leave available will vary according to business size. Workers can start to accrue paid sick time 180 days from today, and can begin to use that time on January 1, 2021. Those working full time or 40 hours per week for businesses with less than 5 employees , and with a net income of less than $1 million, will be able to accrue and use at least 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per year. Those working for a business with less than 5 employees and a net income of $ 1 million; or for a business with between 5 and 99 employees, can use at least 40 hours of paid sick leave. Those at businesses with 100 or more employees will be able to use 56 hours of paid sick leave per year. 

All sick leave is job protected. Part time and hourly workers are included and will accrue time at the same rate as full time workers. Sick leave can be used to address an employee’s personal and family medical needs. Safe time – the right to use paid sick time to address experiences of domestic abuse, sexual assault and sex trafficking–is included in the policy. Implementation regulations will be developed over the next six months.