The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted virtually every facet of the U.S. economy. Over 22 million Americans are currently unemployed. While COVID-19 is the common cause of unemployment for millions of people, the challenges they face may depend on whether they were furloughed or laid off by their employer.
WKBW 7 Eyewitness News recently aired a report on unemployment issues during the COVID-19 crisis and specifically explored the differences between a furlough and a layoff. Labor and Employment attorney Robert L. Boreanaz was interviewed by WKBW reporter Gilat Melamed for the story.
As detailed in a previous Special Alert from Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the “New York on Pause” Executive Order, effective as of March 22, 2020, which required a 100% workforce reduction for any business or organization that is not “essential.”
On April 9, 2020, Empire State Development (ESD) updated its guidelines by further clarifying and expanding the scope of businesses considered “essential” (Essential Business). Prior guidance issued by the ESD is now superseded by revised guidelines issued by the ESD yesterday and summarized below.
The past few weeks have brought action by both the federal and New York state governments to assist employers and employees suffering from income loss related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The following is a summary of new legislation on both the federal level and New York state level.
New York State Paid Sick Leave Law
New York State acted swiftly – on March 18, 2020 – to immediately implement paid sick leave for persons affected by COVID-19. Eligibility requires a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by a government Department of Health—these are actual written documents given to those under such an order. The law provides job protection for persons under such an order even once the paid portion of the leave is completed, until the order is lifted.
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