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NYS COVID Leave Updates

May 30, 2024

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As part of the 2024–25 New York state budget, NY will be retiring its COVID-19 leave effective July 31, 2025. The New York State COVID-19 Emergency Leave Law provides employees with paid leave in the event of a mandatory or precautionary quarantine or isolation due to the virus. 

At the time of enacting this law in 2020, there was no end date set in the legislation. Now, the Governor of New York has set an end date for the NYS COVID leave law in 2025. After the effective date, COVID-19 paid leave will no longer be available; however, employees may use other qualifying paid leave to quarantine if they have the virus, such as the New York Paid Sick Leave.

With the ending and dissolution of NYS COVID leave, employers of all sizes should review and update their leave policies and procedures to reflect the sunsetting of this leave policy, as well as inform their employees of this new change.

What is NYS COVID Leave?

The COVID-19 Paid Emergency Leave law, initially enacted in March 2020 in response to the growing pandemic, has been a critical measure of support for workers affected by the virus. New York State employers are required to provide their employees with at least five to fourteen days of paid sick leave in case they are required to take a mandatory or precautionary quarantine. The number of paid days an employer is required to provide their employees with is dependent on employer size and net annual income. 

This law was designed to support families who were affected by COVID-19 quarantine or isolation by providing employees with financial compensation and job-protected sick leave in the event that they had to quarantine and could not work remotely. This leave policy also applies to employees who have a minor dependent child who is subject to a mandated or precautionary COVID-19 quarantine.

This leave law applies to in-house workers only; remote employees are exempt from the New York COVID-19 leave policy.

COVID-19 Paid Leave Ending NYS

With the scheduled ending of this paid leave benefit, employees who need time off to isolate due to COVID-19 will be required to use current paid leave provisions, such as the New York State Paid Sick Leave and New York City Earned Sick and Safe Time programs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) latest COVID-19 quarantine guidelines determine that employees are no longer required to isolate for five days, nor are they required to stay at home if they test positive for COVID. Instead, the CDC instructs that the illness should be treated the same as any other respiratory illness; if a person has a fever, then they need to stay home. Those who test positive and are symptom-free can go to work as normal.

Since employees are considered okay to be around others 24 hours after no fever, with fever reducing drugs and improving symptoms, paid COVID-19 leave is no longer deemed necessary. As a result of this, New York Governor Kathy Hochul is ending the mandate that requires employers to provide their employees with paid COVID leave.

Employers should keep in mind that while COVID-19 paid leave has an end date set, employers still need to provide their employees with paid COVID-19 leave until the effective end date in July 2025.

July 31, 2025: The Official End Date for New York’s COVID-19 Sick Leave

July 31, 2025, is the official date of COVID-19-paid leave ending in NYS. In the meantime, employers must carry out their COVID-paid leave as per their current policy.

Although this specific law will sunset, employees will still be able to use other paid sick leave in New York State for COVID-19-related reasons after July 31, 2025.

What Does Ending NYS COVID Leave Mean for Employers?

The latest changes to COVID-19 leave will obviously impact New York State employers’ procedures and policies. Employers should be aware of these changes so they can make the necessary transitions and updates to their pandemic policies. This includes removing existing sick policies specifically relating to the New York COVID-19 leave policy.

In regards to legal compliance, businesses should ensure that they are in compliance with state and city leave laws regarding paid leave. Currently, if a NYS employer does not offer COVID-paid leave to their employees, they can be in trouble. Employers must offer COVID-paid leave of the allotted number of days to their employees up until the repeal date. 

Clear communication with employees regarding the changes in COVID leave is essential. Employers must inform their employees of this repeal and that, starting July 31, 2025, they will no longer be provided with COVID-19 paid leave benefits; therefore, if they need to quarantine or isolate, they will have to use other paid leave for COVID purposes. HR professionals should be clearly communicated to as well, to ensure they’re well trained on how to process employee COVID leave requests after the repeal date.

By taking these steps, employers can smoothly transition from the emergency COVID-19 paid leave requirements to standard leave policies while maintaining compliance and supporting their workforce.

Compliance for Employers

As New York joins other states in sunsetting its outdated COVID-19 paid leave benefits on July 31, 2025, employers should start to prepare for the ending of the New York COVID-19 leave policy.

Employers can do this by focusing on updating their leave policies and informing their employees of the NYS COVID leave update to ensure that everyone is up-to-date with this policy change. Employees who may still require time off work in the future due to COVID-19 will have to use regular paid sick leave to do so. 

Employers should note that although there is an end date set for NYS COVID leave, the COVID leave pay is still in effect, and they are still required to offer this paid leave benefit to their employees up until July 31, 2025.

It’s important for all New York employers to ensure their businesses are ready for the end of NYS COVID-19 leave. Contact Complete Payroll for guidance on updating your leave policies and keeping your workforce informed!


DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting, or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.

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