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Breaking: Governor Cuomo Mandates 50% Reduction in Workforce at Physical Workspace

By Katherine L. Wood, Esq.

Governor Cuomo mandated today that all employers must immediately reduce their workforce to 50% in the physical workspace.  To be clear, this does not mean that employers must reduce their actual workforce through layoff, rather, the other 50% of an employer’s workforce is permitted to perform work off-premises.  Importantly, this rule does not apply to certain “essential services” such as food, pharmacies, healthcare, and shipping.  A full list of “essential services” is forthcoming, according to the Governor.  The Governor also indicated that he will issue an executive order concerning this issue later today.  Employers with questions or concerns about implementing policies and procedures concerning the reduced on-premises workforce should seek advice from experienced employment law counsel.

NYS to Implement Paid Sick Leave for Workers Under Quarantine for COVID-19

Governor Cuomo has announced that new legislation is expected to pass, which will offer paid sick leave to employees who are under mandatory or precautionary quarantine.  The amount of paid leave available to employees is dependent on the employer’s number of employees and income last year, as follows:

  • Employers with 10 or fewer employees: Unpaid leave must be given to quarantined employees.
  • Employers with 10 or fewer employees with $1 million or more in income last year: 5 days of paid sick leave must be given to quarantined employees.
  • Employers with 11-99 employees: 5 days of paid sick leave must be given to quarantined employees.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees: 14 days of paid sick leave must be given to quarantined employees.

These polices will be effective immediately upon the passing of the legislation.  If employers have questions or concerns regarding implementing these new policies, please seek advice from experienced employment law counsel.

7-Day Waiting Period to Apply for Unemployment Benefits is Waived in NYS

The New York State Department of Labor (“DOL”) has waived the 7-day waiting period to apply for unemployment insurance benefits.  The DOL specifies that the waiver applies to individuals who are out of work due to COVID-19 “closures or quarantines,” but has not indicated whether proof of loss of work due to “closures or quarantines” will be required to apply within the initial 7-day window.


Hurwitz & Fine continues to monitor and analyze these updates and advise employers on matters related to the coronavirus outbreak.  Please contact any member of the firm’s Employment Practices team for guidance on this evolving issue at 716-849-8900 or visit our website at www.hurwitzfine.com

Joseph S. Brown – [email protected]

Ann E. Evanko – [email protected]

Katherine L. Wood – [email protected]

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