New Law Provides Protection for NY Public Employees for Missed Work Due to COVID
On July 1, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed a new legislation that prohibits public employers from penalizing their employees for any missed work or absences related to COVID-19.
Public employees are not able to be dismissed, or receive other work-related disciplinary action for using personal, sick, or compensatory time due to COVID related circumstances that required them to miss work. This includes employees seeking medical treatment, being required to quarantine, or other missed work that is related to a COVID-19 diagnosis or contact.
Though the state of emergency in New York State was lifted in June, there are still cases of COVID-19 across the state, and the same common worry on the minds of New Yorkers - what about work?
Governor Cuomo identified this new measure as another step in the COVID-related employee protections put into place as a direct result of the virus. Other related laws include guaranteed paid leave for New Yorkers under mandatory or precautionary quarantine due to COVID, and guaranteed time off from work in order to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
With regard to this most recent legislation, Cuomo explained:
From the beginning of this national public health crisis, we have done everything possible to protect those New Yorkers who needed to make sacrifices in order to cope with the hardships of COVID. No one should have to suffer a penalty for missing work because of COVID, and under this new law, every public employee in our state will get the protection they deserve - so they don't have to face unfair consequences for doing what was necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Though many New Yorkers have been fortunate enough to transition to remote-based work, this obviously isn't the case for all professions. This bill provides a sense of safety and security for employees who, in order to protect their own health, and the health of those around them, need to take time away from work.