New Yorkers risk losing their paid sick leave benefits if they travel to states with high coronavirus infection rates under a new executive order signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
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The order, signed by Cuomo on Friday, stipulates that state employees who voluntarily travel to states with an infection rate of 10 percent or more will lose their paid sick leave benefits. As of Monday morning, that includes Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The order covers travel after June 25 unless it's required by an employer or as part of someone's job.
"If we are going to maintain the progress we've seen, we need everyone to take personal responsibility," Cuomo said in a statement.
Paid sick leave -- a policy that gives workers paid time off to stay home and recuperate if they're sick -- is much more common in the public sector than in private businesses. That state had previously pledged to give 14-days paid sick leave for all employed residents who were forced to stay home during the pandemic.
More than 90 percent of state and local government workers receive paid sick leave, even among the lowest wage-earners.
In mid-March, President Trump signed a measure into law providing temporary paid sick leave to government employees and workers at companies with fewer than 500 employees. The legislation excluded businesses with fewer than 50 employees when "the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business."
New York, at one time the epicenter of the outbreak of the virus, has more than 397,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. The virus has killed 31,137 people in the state, the most in the country. There are more than 2.5 million confirmed cases in the U.S.