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A guide to New York State paid COVID leave

Updated November 1, 2022

The New York State Paid COVID leave provides employees fourteen (14) calendar days (typically up to 10 working days for a full-time employee) of paid leave when an employee is placed under a mandatory order of isolation by:

The following is a summary of the leave benefit available to employees and associated requirements:

  1. Employees subject to a mandatory order of isolation due to COVID-19 will receive paid time off at their normal salary, or average weekly wage, for the entirety of the isolation (up to 14 calendar days/10 work days), plus full job protection.

Employees are eligible for up to three “rounds” of NYS Paid COVID Leave, each consisting of up to 14 calendar days/10 work days, for testing positive for COVID-19.  Employees receive paid leave to the extent they:

a. Have not previously exhausted the three “rounds” of COVID leave (NYS Paid COVID Leave does not create a “bank” of days to be used for orders of isolation);
b. provide proof of isolation by a governmental entity or completed self-affirmation (without the order of isolation, there is no eligibility);
c. would otherwise be scheduled to work during the period of isolation;
d. complete an HFM BOCES COVID-19 Paid Leave Request Form; and
e. provide a positive COVID-19 laboratory test result (PCR or Antigen). Home tests are not accepted.

2. CDC guidance recommends isolating for 5 days, with day 0 being the first day of symptoms, or if asymptomatic, the day the employee was tested (not the day the employee receives the positive test result, although for many this is the same day). If an asymptomatic positive employee becomes symptomatic, the clock restarts and begins on the date of onset of symptoms.

3. If the employee has no symptoms, they may end isolation after day 5 and return to work on day 6 (wearing a KN-95 mask for days 6-10).  If an employee is symptomatic, the employee’s symptoms are improving and the employee has been fever free for 24 hours, they may return to work on day 6 (wearing a KN-95 mask for days 6-10).  If symptoms are not improving and the employee has not been fever free for 24 hours, isolation continues until the employee is fever free for 24 hours and symptoms are improving.  This means that most periods of isolation will only be 5 days; however, more than 5 days may be taken if, at the conclusion of day 5, symptoms are not improving and the employee has not been fever free for 24 hours.

4. If the employee does not use a full ten (10) days in any round, the remaining days for that round are forfeited.  As mentioned above, they are not “banked” or available to use in future rounds of paid COVID leave.

5. The CDC no longer recommends quarantining as a result of being exposed to COVID-19.  Now, if exposed, the CDC recommends masking and watching for symptoms.

6. If an employee has exhausted all three rounds of COVID-19 leave, they may use their eligible contractual leave accruals.

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