New Measures Regarding Paid Sick Time, Unused Vacation Take Effect on Jan. 1, 2021

Two new measures will go into effect Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, including New York State’s new paid sick leave law and revisions to how the University handles the payout of unused vacation time.

New York State Paid Sick Leave Law Goes Into Effect

In accordance with new legislation passed earlier this year by the New York State Legislature, the University will expand its benefits to provide paid sick time to all employees, including faculty, staff, student workers, temporary employees and graduate assistants.

The new legislation, which is effective Jan. 1, 2021, increases the amount of sick time provided under the University’s prior policy for most non-exempt benefits-eligible staff. It also represents the first time paid sick time will be provided to student workers and temporary employees.

Sick time generally covers time away from work for personal injury, illness, health or safety reasons, or to care for an eligible family member due to their injury, illness or health condition.

Beginning in January and subject to collective bargaining agreements, non-exempt employees will be provided with up to 56 hours of accrued paid sick time for use in a calendar year. Non-exempt employees will be able to view their available sick time on their paycheck beginning in January. The balance of available time will be the greater of either the unused time under the University’s prior sick time policy, or time accrued under the new sick time policy since Sept. 30, 2020.

Sick time that remains unused at the end of the calendar year will be maintained as carryover to the next calendar year and will not be paid out. The carryover will provide the benefit of being able to use sick time as early as needed in the new year without having to wait for the accrual of new sick time.

Exempt employees will also be eligible to take sick time in accordance with the law, with no change to the sick time currently available to exempt benefits-eligible staff.

To learn more, review the Sick Time webpage, which includes FAQ and the updated sick time policies, on the Office of Human Resources website.

Unused Vacation Time Payout Change

The University continues to take steps to achieve cost savings in a manner that safeguards the benefits and resources currently in place for its employees. One of the new cost-savings measures will eliminate the practice of paying out unused vacation time upon separation from employment. This will apply to benefits-eligible staff who elect to leave employment, including those who retire or resign.

Questions about these changes should be directed to HR Shared Services at 315.443.4042.