How Do Currently Working Employees Apply for Leave under the NYS COVID-19 Quarantine Law and the FFCRA?

NYS Covid-19 Quarantine Law

Employees do not have to apply to NYS for paid sick days for COVID-19 quarantine leave. However, they do need to provide a copy of the order of quarantine from the Department of Health to their employer.

If an employee on an Order of Quarantine runs out of paid sick days under the NYS law, the employee can apply for Paid Family Leave and disability benefits for compensation during the rest of their quarantine. To do so, the employee must notify their employer of their need for Paid Family leave, and submit their completed request for Paid Family leave forms to the employer’s insurance carrier no later than 30 days from their first day of Paid Family leave to avoid losing any benefits.

The employee will need to complete the Request for COVID-19 Quarantine Leave for Yourself form package, which includes two forms:

  • Request for COVID-19 Quarantine DB/PFL - Self (Form SCOVID19)
  • Request for Paid Family Leave (Form PFL-1)

Once the employee completes the employee section on both forms, they will send the forms to the employer to complete the employer sections on both forms. The employer has three business days to complete these sections and return the forms to the employee. Next, the employee will submit their completed forms together with the mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the State, department of health, local board of health, or government entity to your employer’s disability and Paid Family Leave insurance carrier. The insurance carrier must pay or deny the claim within 18 calendar days of receiving the completed request.

If the employee is unable to work because their minor dependent child is subject to a quarantine order, they will need to complete the Request for COVID-19 Quarantine Leave for Minor Dependent Child form package, which includes two forms:

  • Request for COVID-19 Quarantine PFL - Child (Form CCOVID19)
  • Request for Paid Family Leave (Form PFL-1)

The employee will need to complete the employee sections on both forms in the package and send the forms to the employer to complete the employer sections on both forms. The employer has three business days to complete these sections and return the forms to the employee. Next, the employee will submit their completed forms together with the mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the State, department of health, local board of health, or government entity to the employer’s disability and paid family leave insurance carrier. The insurance carrier must pay or deny the claim within 18 calendar days of receiving the completed request.

For more information, see https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/covid-19-paid-leave-guidance-employers.

FFRCA

Employees must provide to their employer documentation in support of their paid sick leave as specified in applicable IRS forms, instructions, and information.

According to IRS Guidance, an employer must receive the following from an employee to substantiate eligibility for sick leave or family leave credits:

  • Leave Request Form
  • Employee’s name
  • A written statement of qualifying reason for requesting COVID-19 leave
  • A statement that the employee is unable to work (including telework) for that reason, and
  • The date(s) for which leave is requested.

Written statement: for a leave request based on a quarantine order or self-quarantine advice:
The statement from the employee should include the name of the governmental entity ordering quarantine or the name of the health care professional advising self-quarantine.

If the person subject to quarantine is not the employee, that person's name and relation to the employee shall be provided.

Written statement: for an employee to take leave to care for their child whose school or place of care is closed, or if their child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons
The statement from the employee should include the following:

  • the name and age of the child or children,
  • the name of the school that has closed or place of care that is unavailable,
  • a representation that no other person will be providing care for the child during the period for which the employee is receiving family medical leave, and
  • for situations involving the care of a child older than 14 during daylight hours, a statement that special circumstances exist requiring the employee to provide care.

Per current IRS recommendations, eligible employers claiming the credits for qualified leave wages must retain records and documentation related to and supporting each employee’s leave to substantiate the claim for the credits, and retain the Forms 941, Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return, and 7200, Advance of Employer Credits Due To COVID-19, and any other applicable filings made to the IRS requesting the credit.

To receive the tax credit, employers should also maintain documentation to show how the employer determined the amount of qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees that are eligible for the credit (including records of work, telework, qualified sick leave and qualified family leave), and documentation to show how the employer determined the amount of qualified health plan expenses that the employer allocated to wages.

For employees wishing to take leave beyond the sick leave under FFRCA, they will have to apply for FMLA leave. All existing certification requirements under the FMLA remain in effect if an employee is taking leave for one of the existing qualifying reasons under the FMLA. For example, if an employee is taking leave beyond the two weeks of emergency paid sick leave because their medical condition for COVID-19-related reasons rises to the level of a serious health condition, they must continue to provide medical certifications under the FMLA if required by their employer.