What are the Regulations?
Governor Cuomo has enacted various measures to protect workers during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Your employer must take various safety and health precautions for the work site, including providing you with a face covering, ensuring that social distancing is being followed, making hand washing and sanitizing stations available, and making sure that cleaning and disinfection are occurring frequently. Your employer should make operational adjustments such as creating policies to enable employees to work remotely due to pandemic-related reasons and staggering shifts to reduce workplace density. Your employer may not threaten or retaliate against you for complaining that the business has failed to take adequate safety and health measures.
The Governor has also enacted a law that provides benefits - including sick leave, paid family leave, and disability benefits - to New York employees impacted by mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Quarantine leave is available retroactively. Employers otherwise required to provide paid sick leave may not make you use existing sick leave or other leave accruals, in lieu of providing COVID leave benefits. See more information under Resources below.
Emergency Preparedness Law
According to the Emergency Preparedness Law, public employers are required to have a written plan for operations in the event of a declared public health emergency, including COVID-19. All public employees should have access to this plan. If your employer is not following state guidance, rules or laws concerning a communicable disease, you have the right to file a complaint by using the ‘File a Complaint’ button below.
Employers may use these templates to assist them with complying with the law:
Template for State Agencies & Authorities (MS Word)
Template for Local Jurisdictions (MS Word)
Checklist for Completion of the Continuity of Operations Plan (PDF)
Filing a Complaint
You may file a COVID-related complaint for any of the following reasons: **
- Your employer is not taking proper safety and health precautions (see above)
- You have particular concerns because you or a family member are part of a vulnerable population (i.e. underlying health conditions or over 70)
- Your employer has failed to pay you wages owed for hours worked, earned sick pay or paid time off, or time off to get vaccinated
- Your employer has threatened or fired you for reasons related to COVID-19
- You qualify for COVID-19 paid sick leave and your employer refuses to pay it
- Your employer is forcing you to work when you are sick
**BEFORE FILING a complaint for sick leave, paid family leave or disability benefits, you must first obtain an Order of Quarantine issued by the State, New York State Department of Health, local Board of Health or other authorized government entity. A Doctor’s order to quarantine, or your employer simply directing you to remain at home, is not a sufficient basis to file for this leave.
Additional Information and Resources
Other Leaves of Absence for Health Conditions: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Frequently Asked Questions about Wages and Hours.
Labor Laws Regarding Fringe Benefit Payments:
Section 198c of the New York State Labor Law, Benefits or Wage Supplements
Notice Requirements for Fringe Benefits and Hours
Information about Unemployment Insurance
Information and guidance from the NYS Department of Health about cleaning, disinfecting, and more.
Discrimination and Retaliation related to Your Human Rights:
For complaints regarding workplace discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, or other protected category, you can contact the NYS Division of Human Rights, the NYC Commission on Human Rights (for workplaces in NYC), or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Continuation of Health Insurance:
For coverage issues associated with an employer with 20 or more employees, contact the U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration. For an employer with less than 20 employees, contact the NYS Department of Financial Services.