Public Employees Can’t be Disciplined For COVID-19 Absence Under New Law

Jul 7

New York State Bill Number A04063A extends protections to public employees who take absence as a result of COVID-19. Under the bill signed last Thursday, public employees in New York can’t be penalized  or disciplined for taking sick leave or compensatory time for reasons related to COVID-19. According to the Democrat & Chronicle, “public employers are specifically prohibited from penalizing employees who use sick leave or compensatory time to quarantine or seek medical treatment for COVID-19, or for other absences related to a COVID-19 diagnosis or contact.” 

A public employee is anyone who works in schools, local government, or state prisons. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press release, “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.”

The bill was approved in April and was a response to the more than 800 New York City Department of Corrections employees who received negative work records after COVID-19 quarantine periods and illness because they were marked as “chronically absent.”

The new law works in conjunction with previously enacted COVID-19 mandates that include paid leave for New Yorkers and guaranteed time off from work to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Now, employers must reconsider their current stance on employee absences to ensure compliance with the new bill.

New York Public Employee Protections: Brown Kwon & Lam

As changes occur in the workplace, New York employees need to know that Brown Kwon & Lam is here to protect in their employee rights-related litigation. Contact our firm today for a free consultation.

To learn more about COVID-19 workers’ protections, visit our website

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