Covid-19 FAQs

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  • If a payroll cycle is on the 15th of each month and the 31st of each months and employees were laid off on the 20th but paid through the 31st can they receive unemployment for the week of the 23-29 since they were officially laid off by the 20th but received pay through the 31st?

No, you should start with the first date that you did not receive any wages from your employer.

  • What does paid family leave cost the employer?

If you’re asking about New York State Paid Family Leave, it costs the employer nothing! The program is administered through the state’s Workers Comp program. The new expanded Leave also includes benefits administered through temporary disability insurance.

  • The pay rates for paid sick leave - are those before or after taxes? Do you have to pay taxes on that?

The paid sick leave will be processed like an employee’s wages so taxes will be taken out. Normally, employers are responsible for paying 6.2% of each employee’s wages for Social Security tax, but the government has exempted employer Social Security tax from these wages.

  • If your landlord gets mortgage relief, can you automatically get rent relief (personal and commercial)? How would you know?

No. There is no rent relief at this time. There is only a 90-day moratorium on evictions, but at the current moment, the rent is still due. There is legislation introduced but that doesn’t mean anything unless and until it is passed.

  • I've been working for an in-home service and my last/only client wanted to put services on pause. I don't want to take on more at home cases at this time and I'm not sure I'm allowed to/want to provide provide services remotely — would I be entitled to unemployment benefits?


  • I tested positive for coronavirus and I wanted to learn more about constructive discharge as an alternative to resignation.

“Constructive discharge” means your employer has made the conditions of your workplace so intolerable that you cannot continue there. Your positive diagnosis is not their fault (I’m assuming….) and so this isn’t really a constructive discharge situation. You are entitled to all of the various PFL options, including up to 12 weeks of fully paid leave. If you want to leave permanently, I would raise it with your employer as a way for them to save time and maybe money in the future. Good luck!

  • I was supposed to begin a new job, but the employer had to close for Covid before I could begin. Am I eligible for/entitled to unemployment benefits?

Yes. Under the new rules, you are eligible if you were supposed to start a new job and you weren’t able to as a result of the coronavirus.

  • Can constructive discharge claims be used towards work share locations that aren't practicing extra safety protocols?

We would argue yes, however, we would need more information about your particular situation.

  • I am on maternity leave right now and was just furloughed, before my NYS PFL would have ended. The hr department said in their FAQ sheet: “If I am on or scheduled for paid leave (such as FMLA) during furlough, will I still be furloughed? A. Yes. If you are already on a paid leave or approved for a scheduled paid leave of absence during the furlough period (either continuously or intermittently), you will still be classified as being on an unpaid furlough. However, during the period you are on furlough, no time will be counted against your paid leave entitlement amount.” They also contacted me to let me know that I didn’t have to pause my family leave. I did some research over the weekend while waiting for info from hr and I saw recommendations from the DOL saying that I can’t be on federal paid leave and furlough at the same time. I don’t know if NY is the same. I'm worried that my job is asking me to go against state laws and that this might affect processing of unemployment later (since the furlough is scheduled to last longer than my leave). Before I heard back from hr I paused my leave and filed unemployment. Is it legal to follow the benefits department- and stay on ny paid family leave while furloughed? If not— what should my actions be?

You are correct that you cannot be on paid family/sick leave and furlough at the same time. The first question to ask is what will yield more money for you, unemployment benefits (up to ~$500/ week depending on income, plus a flat $600/ week) or PFL (60% of your wage, up to ~$840/ week). Neither one is paid out of pocket by the employer, so they should be willing to work with you in either event. The employer can also choose to continue paying your benefits while you are on furlough so those need not be affected. In short, it sounds like the benefits department was wrong and what you did was likely the best course of action.

  • How do you determine income for unemployment if you are a freelancer since it can vary widely from year to year - last year's tax return?

Yes, the NYS Department of Labor will look at your prior reported earnings to determine your income.