NYS COVID-19 Leave - Expanded Benefits

On January 20, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor issued clarifying guidance concerning the paid sick leave benefits available for employees who are under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19 (“Paid Quarantine Leave”), which first took effect on March 18, 2020. Critically, the guidance makes clear that employees may be eligible for up to three Paid Quarantine Leaves and that employers must pay employees when the employer directs the employee to stay out of work for COVID-19 exposure or potential exposure. These paid leave benefits are paid by the employer and cannot be recovered through tax credits.
The guidance does not require that the benefits described above be applied retroactively.
Additional Periods of Paid Quarantine Leave
The New York State Department of Labor does not recommend that employees produce a negative test to discontinue their quarantine or isolation period. The New York City Health Department, in earlier guidance, advised that employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 and who have completed quarantine should not be required to show a negative COVID-19 test in order to return to work.
Employer-Mandated Quarantine/Isolation
An employer who requires an employee (who is not otherwise subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation) to remain out of work due to exposure or potential exposure to COVID-19 must pay the employee their regular rate of pay until the employer permits the employee to return to work, regardless of whether such exposure or potential exposure was in the workplace, or until the employee becomes subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation (at which time the employee must receive Paid Quarantine Leave). This paid leave benefit is in addition to FFCRA leave and Paid Quarantine Leave. It is unclear whether an employer may use an employee’s available paid time off for this purpose; however, if an employee does not have available paid time off, the employer must pay for the time out of work. 
Please feel to contact your CB&D attorney with any questions, including about further return to work questions.