New York employees who voluntarily travel to certain high-risk states after June 25, 2020 will be ineligible for emergency paid sick leave offered under NYS law. This will not affect the leave benefits provided under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which employees would still be eligible to receive. “High-risk” states are those states that have a COVID-19 test positivity rate of higher than 10% among their residents over an average seven-day period and that have been designated as meeting such conditions by the commissioner of the respective state’s department of health. Only employees who go to high-risk states on voluntarily or non-essential travel will be stripped away of paid sick leave eligibility, meaning that the travel was “not taken as part of the employee’s employment or at the direction of the employee’s employer.” This, however, does not apply to individuals who have passed through the high-risk states for a limited duration, or less than 24 hours, such as for layovers or rest stops.
Signed into law by Governor Cuomo through an executive order, this law will stay in effect through July 26, 2020. The order modifies the NYS emergency paid sick leave law, under which employees are ineligible for COVID-19 paid sick leave if they travel to a country for which the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) issued a level two or three travel notice.