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Update on New York State’s COVID-19 Sick Leave: Employees Who Engage in Non-Essential Travel to High Risk States Are Ineligible

July 2, 2020

On March 18, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation (the “Act”) providing all New York employees with COVID-19-related sick leave (discussed in our previous alert).  On June 24, 2020, Governor Cuomo modified the Act by Executive Order (the “Order”) to deem any employee who “voluntarily travels” to a state with a high positive test rate, as defined by the Order (“high risk states”), ineligible for paid sick leave benefits under the Act.  This modification applies to employees who travel to high risk states after June 25, 2020 and is currently in effect through July 26, 2020.  However, this only applies to voluntary travel; travel “taken as part of the employee’s employment or at the direction of the employee’s employer” is expressly exempt from the eligibility restriction.  The stated purpose of this modification is to address the risk of travel-related COVID-19 cases in New York State. 

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