This post will guide you through employee leave laws for businesses and workers located in the state of New York.
Follow this guide to understand employers’ obligations for vacation time, paid time off (PTO), sick leave, parental leave, bereavement and more, along with state holidays observed in New York.
This page is intended for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please see official government sources or consult a legal professional for actual legal advice.
Paid or unpaid vacation time is not required in New York. Employers are free to decide whether to offer this as a benefit to their employees.
Policies where employees lose earned benefits, such as Use It or Lose It, are legal to enforce in New York. Employees must be aware of any conditions in which they will lose their benefits, informed in writing.
Unused PTO must be paid out upon separation in New York, unless the company has a clear policy stating conditions in which benefits will be forfeited (which can include the end of employment). Employees must be notified in writing of any such conditions.
Workers in most New York companies are entitled to paid sick leave.
Any employers with five or more employees or net income of $1 million or more must provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
Businesses under the thresholds for number of employees and net income must provide the same benefits, but in unpaid sick leave.
For businesses with up to 99 employees, accrued sick leave can be capped at 40 hours per calendar year. For businesses with 100 or more employees, the minimum cap rises to 56 hours per year.
Besides any state laws or provisions written into employment contracts, employers in New York must comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which entitles eligible employees the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for serious health conditions, or to care for spouses, children or parents with a serious health condition.
The following official state holidays are observed in New York:
|January 1||New Year’s Day|
|3rd Monday in January||Martin Luther King, Jr. Day|
|February 12||Lincoln’s Birthday|
|3rd Monday in January||Presidents Day|
|Last Monday in May||Memorial Day|
|July 4||Independence Day|
|1st Monday in September||Labor Day|
|2nd Monday in October||Columbus Day|
|November 11||Veterans Day|
|4th Thursday in November||Thanksgiving|
|December 25||Christmas Day|
There is no requirement to allow employees a paid or unpaid day off for state holidays, and employees required to work on state holidays are not legally entitled to extra compensation (such as higher pay or a compensatory day off), unless promised in their employment contract.
New York’s Paid Family Leave law entitles employees to job-protected, paid leave to bond with a newly born, adopted or fostered child (as well as to care for a family member with a serious health condition or assist loved ones deployed for active military service).
Employees may take up to 12 weeks of paid time off within the first 12 months after the child was born or placed.
Paid Family Leave is paid at 67% of the employee’s regular pay (up to a cap).
New York’s Paid Family Leave law covers both mothers and fathers, providing the same benefits for each.
Paid Family Leave covers adoptions, along with new births and fosters.
Additionally, if a company provides any kind of parental leave benefits for new births, the same benefits must be available to employees who adopt a child.
There is no legal requirement to provide bereavement leave in New York.
Companies with more than 10 employees are required to pay the first $40 of an employee’s regular daily wages for the first three days of their jury service.
Employees are entitled to up to two hours of paid leave to vote, unless they have four consecutive off-duty hours to vote while polls are open.
Employees who have been the victim of a crime, or who have been called as a witness for a criminal trial, are obliged to unpaid time off to attend court proceedings.
Federal Law (the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)) applies in New York, which states that military service members receive up to five years of unpaid leave for military service, and upon returning, must be reinstated to the same position (or an equivalent position) as they had before their leave.
Anything not covered in New York state leave laws is up to the discretion of the employer, such as whether or not to provide paid sick leave or PTO, or whether PTO rolls over from year to year.
However, if any benefits are laid out in an employee’s contract or company policy, employers must comply with what has been agreed in that document.
For example, if an employee’s contract states that they are to receive 12 days of PTO each year, the employer is legally required to provide this, even though paid time off is not required by state law.