In New York, an employer is not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. NY Dept. of Labor FAQs. If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. NY Labor Law 198-c.
Neither New York’s Legislature nor its court has explicitly stated whether an employer may implement a policy or enter into employment contracts requiring employees to forfeit accrued vacation upon separation from employment, regardless of the reason.
However, an employer may lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract disqualifying employees from payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment if they fail to comply with specific requirements, such as giving two weeks’ notice or being employed as of a specific date of the year. Employees must be provided adequate notice of any such policy for it to have effect. See Gennes v. Yellow Book of NY, 23 A.D.3d 520 (NY Sup. Ct. App. 2005); Mahoney v. Olean General Hospital, 277 A.D.2d 1046 (NY Sup. Ct. App. 2000); Glenville Gage v. Bd. of Appeals, 70 A.D.2d 283 (N.Y. App. Div. 1979); NY Labor Code § 195(5)
An employer is required to pay accrued vacation to an employee upon separation from employment if its policy or contract requires it. NY Labor Law § 198-c
An employer is required to pay accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment if the employer’s established policy or employment contract is silent on the matter. NY Dept of Labor FAQs.
An employer may cap the amount of vacation leave an employee may accrue over time, so long as employees are given prior notice of the policy. See Glenville Gage v. Bd. of Appeals, 70 A.D.2d 283 (N.Y. App. Div. 1979); NY Labor Law § 195(5)
An employer may implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy requiring employees to use their leave by a set date or lose it, so long as employees are given prior notice of the policy. See Glenville Gage v. Bd. of Appeals, 70 A.D.2d 283 (N.Y. App. Div. 1979); NY Labor Law § 195(5)
New York labor laws require employers to provide employees with sick leave benefits. NY Labor Law § 196-b; NY Dept of Labor FAQs. Employers with four or fewer employees and who have a net income of one million dollars or less in the previous tax year must provide unpaid sick leave. All other employers must provide paid sick leave. For more information about New York’s sick leave requirements visit New York Paid Sick Leave.
An employer in New York may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.
New York law does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. In New York, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays.
A private employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. If an employer chooses to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. NY Dept of Labor FAQs
Visit our New York State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of New York as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.
Jury Duty Leave
An employer who employs more than ten (10) employees must pay an employee the first $40 of the employee’s regular daily wages for the first three (3) days of jury service. In all other instances, an employer is not required to pay an employee for time spent serving on a jury.
An employer may not discharge or penalize an employee who is summoned to serve as a juror and who notifies the employer to that effect prior to the commencement of a term of service.
New York law requires employers to provide employees time off work so that an employee’s time off hours combined with his or her off-duty hours provide the employee sufficient time to vote while polls are open. Only two (2) hours of the voting leave must be paid. An employee is considered to have sufficient off-duty time to vote if he or she has four (4) consecutive off-duty hours to vote while polls are open.
To be eligible for the voting leave, an employee must request the leave at least two (2) working days but not more than ten (10) working days before the day of the vote or election.
Not less than ten (10) working days before an election, each employer is required to post in a conspicuous location a notice informing employees of their rights and obligations to take voting leave.
New York law does not require employers to provide employee bereavement leave. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice it maintains.
Family and Medical Leave Act
Employers in New York must adhere to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), as this is a federal policy.
If an employer has at least 50 employees for 20 weeks in the previous or current year, the employer in New York is subject to the FMLA.
Employees in New York may take leave for FMLA if they have been employed in the same place for a minimum of 12 months if they have worked at least 1,250 hours during the last 12 months, and if they work at a location with a minimum of 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
An employee, under FMLA, may take leave:
- To handle qualifying circumstances that arise out of a family member’s active military service
- To recover from a severe illness or health condition
- To take care of a family member with a serious health issue
- To bond with or care for a newborn or adopted child
- To take care of a member of the family who has suffered a severe injury while on military duty.
Under the FMLA, employees can receive 12 weeks’ leave. This leave renews every year if the worker remains eligible. If an employee is taking care of an injured person who suffered injuries during active military service, they are entitled to 26 weeks of leave during a year.
During this leave, employees may continue paying into and receiving health insurance at the same cost paid while at work. While FMLA leave is not paid, employees might be required or allowed to use their paid leave. However, if you are taking a leave for any reason covered by New York paid family leave programs or the temporary disability insurance, individuals may be entitled to benefits during this time off.
New York Paid Family Leave
New York has a paid family leave program for workers who have been employed at the same job for 26 weeks. Under this law, employees may take leave to bond with and care for a new child, handle circumstances arising from a family member’s deployment or military duty, or care for a family member with a serious illness or health condition. Employees can take up to three months of family leave and receive 67% of their standard wages.
Employers offering parental leave for a biological child are also obligated to provide workers with as much leave for adopting a younger child or preschool age (up to 18 years if said individual has a disability).
Military Family Leave
New York also has a military family leave law that applies to employers with at least 20 employees. If an employee has a spouse in the Armed Forces, Reserves, or the National Guard and is deployed during a period of military combat, employees must give employees up to 10 days of leave while the spouse is on leave during deployment.