New York State Leave Laws

January 8th 2024

Leave laws are essential for both employers and employees to ensure the well-being of the workforce and the exercise of entitled benefits.

This article aims to explore the legal responsibilities surrounding leave in New York State and shed light on the different categories of leave available to employees.

Regulations governing leave may vary between the public and private sectors.

Leave days in New York State are classified into two distinct groups: mandatory and non-mandatory, each encompassing specific guidelines and requirements.

This Article Covers

New York Required Leave
New York Non-Required Leave

New York Required Leave

Certain types of leave are legally required in New York, granting employees the right to request and take such leave without facing any negative consequences from their employer. The mandated leave types in New York include:

1. Sick Leave

  • Eligibility:
    All state employees, as of April 3, 2020.
    Paid by employers with 5 or more employees or a net income of $1 million or more.
    Unpaid by employers with fewer than 5 employees and a net income of less than $1 million.
  • Duration:1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, beginning at the time of employment.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To attend to their health.

2. Family and Medical Leave

  • Eligibility:
    Under federal law:
    All employees.
    Under State law:
    Employees who have worked for the employee for a minimum of 26 weeks and need to care for a family member with a serious health condition, bond with a new child, or handle obligations from a family member’s military service or deployment (Receiving 67% of their salary, with a cap depending on the length of leave taken).
    Employees who have worked for their employer for at least four consecutive weeks and require leave for pregnancy-related reasons or illnesses (Getting 50% of their normal pay).
  • Duration: 
    Up to 12 unpaid weeks.
    An additional 14 weeks of unpaid leave for employees who are taking care of a family member hurt while serving in the military.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To care for a sick or injured family member, treat a serious health condition, bond with a new baby, or help a family member who was hurt while serving in the military.

3. Jury Service Leave

  • Eligibility:  
    All employers.
    Employees called to serve in a jury who are US citizens, 18 years or older, and residing in the county where they have been summoned.
  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of the jury service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For jury duty.
  • Pay: Employers are not required to pay the wages of employees who are on jury duty, but they are encouraged to do so.
    An employer with fewer than ten workers is permitted to retain the entire salary of the employee, when a worker has jury duty.
    If the company has more than ten employees, the employer must pay $40 or a day’s wage (whichever is less) for the first three days of jury duty. The state will make up the difference if the daily wage is less than $40.

4. Voting Leave

  • Eligibility: All employees, provided they tell their boss at least two days in advance, which is usually taken to mean two business days.
  • Duration: 2 paid hours to vote on election day, with certain conditions.
    If an employee has four consecutive hours to vote between the opening of the polls and the start of their shift, or if there is a gap of four consecutive hours between the end of the shift and the closing of the polls, they are considered to have “sufficient time to vote” and will not receive payment for the time taken off. 
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To vote in any local, regional, state or comparable election.

5. Witness and Crime Victim Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees called as a witness or victims of a crime.
  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of the service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To take the stand and respond to a call as witness in a criminal case or to testify in court as a victim.

6. Emergency Response Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees who may need to respond to emergencies or find themselves in a role as a “first responder” , including healthcare professionals and technicians, firefighters, and law enforcement officers.
  • Duration: The scheduled duration of the emergency response.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To respond to emergencies and keep the public safe.

7. Time Off for Organ or Bone Marrow Donation

  • Eligibility: All employees who wish to donate to ailing individuals.
  • Duration: 
    Up to 7 paid days off for bone marrow donation.
    30 days for organ donation, but they have to tell their employer at least two weeks in advance.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For bone marrow and organ transplant donation. 

8. Military Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees who are called to serve in the military.
    67% of their Average Weekly Wage (AWW) for a period of 12 weeks while they are on active duty in addition to job security, health insurance that doesn’t end, and protection from discrimination and retaliation.
    To get military leave, 0.511% of the employee’s weekly wages must be taken out of their paycheck and given to the Family Leave for Military Service program.

  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of the service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To serve in active duty or to fulfill training requirements in the National Guard or Reserves.

New York Non-Required Leave

In New York, employers are not obligated by law to offer specific types of leave to their employees unless explicitly stated in the agreement between the employer and employee. The following leave options are not legally mandated:

1. Bereavement Leave

Leave for bereavement falls under ‘time not worked.’ It is not a legal obligation and is only necessary if the employer has implemented a policy to provide such compensation.

2. Vacation Time

Employers are not required by law to offer their employees paid or unpaid vacation time as it falls under “time not worked.” However, if an employer has promised such benefits in their company policy, they are obligated to compensate their workers for any unused vacation time.

3. Holiday Leave

Leave for holiday falls under “time not worked.” It is not a legal obligation and is only necessary if the employer has implemented a policy to provide such compensation.

The following are the official state holidays observed in New York:

New York State Official Holidays Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

If you want to know more about the entitlements of employees in New York, you can read our guides on your rights as a salaried employee in New York, and your rights as an hourly employee in New York. You can also learn more about New York Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.