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New York

All information updated weekly and based on official information made available to the public from state and federal government agencies.

Worker Protections and Safety

Information on paid sick leave for New York workers:

New York City recently updated it’s guidance recommending that HCP who have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 while at work should be excluded from work for 14 days. Exposure under these circumstances is defined as not wearing a face mask or respirator and spending 15 minutes within 6 feet of a patient with confirmed COVID-19; HCP not wearing eye protection and spending more than 15 minutes within 6 feet of a person with confirmed COVID-19 who was not wearing a facemask or cloth covering; HCP not wearing  recommended PPE while performing an aerosol generating procedure.

In March New York State passed an emergency paid sick leave (PSL) law providing 14 paid sick days for employees who are ordered quarantined or isolated due to suspected or confirmed COVID-19, if employed by an employer with 100 or more employees (the benefits vary for employees of smaller employers).  This PSL is in addition to any other paid time off benefits the member may be entitled to by contract.

Guidelines for returning to work (all healthcare workers EXCEPT nursing home workers) if you’ve travelled to certain designated high-risk states, if you are suspected or confirmed to be COVID-19 positive or have had prolonged exposure to someone confirmed to be COVID-19 positive. More Information here

 

Q. If I have a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, can I continue to work?

A. Yes, if ALL these conditions are met:

  • You must have maintained isolation for at least 10 days after illness onset, must have been fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medications, and must have other symptoms improving.
  • If you are asymptomatic but tested positive, you must maintain isolation for at least 10 days after the date of the positive test and, if you develop symptoms during that time, you must maintain isolation for at least 10 days after illness onset and must have been at least 72 hours fever-free without fever reducing medications and with other symptoms improving.
  • If you are recovering from COVID-19 and return to work after 10 days, you should wear a facemask while working until symptoms have completely resolved.

 

Q.  If I have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, can I continue to work?

A. Yes, if ALL the following conditions are met:

  • There is a staff shortage and keeping you out would harm operations.
  • You are asymptomatic.
  • You should self-monitor twice a day (ie temperature, symptoms), and undergo temperature and symptom checks at the start of each shift and after 12 hours if you are working longer periods.
  • You should wear a facemask while working for at least 14 days after your last high-risk exposure.
  • You should be assigned to low-risk patients or clients if possible.
  • You should maintain self-quarantine when not at work for a full 14 days.
  • If you develop COVID-19 symptoms you should immediately stop work, isolate at home, and get tested.

 

Q. If I’ve recently travelled to one of the following states, can I continue to work? – Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah click here

A.  Yes, if ALL the qualifications are met:

  • There is a staff shortage and keeping you out would harm operations.
  • You are asymptomatic.
  • You had a diagnostic test for COVID-19 within 24 hours of return to New York.
  • You should self-monitor twice a day (ie temperature, symptoms), and undergo temperature and symptom checks at the start of each shift and after 12 hours if you are working longer periods
  • You should wear a facemask while working.
  • You should be assigned to low-risk patients or clients if possible.
  • You should maintain self-quarantine when not at work.

 

Nursing Home Paid Sick Leave:

 

Q. If I was quarantined for Covid 19 and then test positive AGAIN, am I supposed to quarantine again and receive sick pay?

A.  Yes, if you have already quarantined for Covid 19 and then test positive again you are to quarantine and qualify for sick leave.  This applies whether you’ve already come back to work or were at the end of your quarantine period. Link here

 

Q. Do I need a doctor’s note if I test positive again for Covid 19

A.  Yes, you must submit documentation for a positive Covid 19 test unless your employer provided the test.

 

Q. Is there a limit to the number of times I can receive sick leave pay while quarantined?

A.  Yes, you can only receive sick leave pay for three quarantine periods.

 

Nursing Home Worker COVID19 testing:

 

Q. If I was quarantined for Covid 19 and then test positive AGAIN, am I supposed to quarantine again and receive sick pay?

A.  Yes, if you have already quarantined for Covid 19 and then test positive again you are to quarantine and qualify for sick leave.  This applies whether you’ve already come back to work or were at the end of your quarantine period. Link here

 

Q. Do I need a doctor’s note if I test positive again for Covid 19

A.  Yes, you must submit documentation for a positive Covid 19 test unless your employer provided the test.

 

Q. Is there a limit to the number of times I can receive sick leave pay while quarantined?

A.  Yes, you can only receive sick leave pay for three quarantine periods.

 

Q: My employer sent me home based on cold/flu-like symptoms, then required me to come back to work after 2 days and use my own sick time for the 2 days. Is this correct?

A: If an employer sends an employee home based on symptoms that raise suspicion of COVID-19, they should require the employee to stay out of work until they have satisfied the return to work criteria described in the DOH Advisory, including isolating for at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms, being fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medications provided their symptoms are improving.  During this isolation period an employee is entitled to NY State PSL and should not be required to use any of their own sick time or paid time off, unless they have already received two prior periods of NY State PSL due to suspected or confirmed COVID-19.  Nursing Home workers are required to isolate for 14 days.  The 10 days apply to all other healthcare workers.       

 

Q: If an employer sends a member home for a few days as a precaution due to exposure to a COVID-19 positive co-worker or patient and no symptoms develop, is the member entitled to NY State paid sick leave?

A:  Yes. Once an employer sends a member home as a precaution they are furloughed to isolate and entitled to NY State PSL for any days their employer requires them to isolate.  Pursuant to NYC Guidance, employees who have been within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-positive individual for at least 15 minutes without required PPE should isolate away from work for 14 days.

 

Unemployment:

  • Paid leave during the quarantine.
  • New York is waiving the 7-day waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits. More information here
  • New York State has issued a ruling that Healthcare workers who test positive for a second or third time with the #Coronavirus are automatically entitled to paid sick leave. “For more on this and other information on #Covid19 rules in your area, click here:

 

Worker Safety:

  • Mandated COVID-19 testing for nursing home workers here
  • Facilities are responsible for providing testing and covering costs for employees. More information here
  • Time spent traveling within COVID-19 testing sites is considered ‘on the clock’. More information  here
  • If an employee tests positive for COVID-19 they are entitled to sick pay and must have a 14 day quarantine.
  • Antibody testings are available and determine whether you have had COVID-19. More information on these testings and its meaning here

 

COVID19 testing:

 

Q. I work in a New York nursing home, do I have to get tested? 

A.  On June 9th, the Governor announced that the testing program for NY nursing home workers will move to once a week instead of twice a week for regions in Phase 2 of reopening.  All regions except NYC are in Phase 2. NYC nursing homes will continue to test twice a week until the Governor declares they are in Phase 2. More information here

 

Q. Who is responsible for paying for the testing required of personnel of nursing homes and adult care facilities? 

A.  Facilities are responsible for providing testing for their employees, including assuming responsibility for the costs of testing. Also, the employer cannot direct you to use your health insurance to pay as the tests are not medically required. Health insurance providers, including the Union benefit funds, have determined that these tests are the responsibility of the employer, not the workers’ insurer. More information here

 

Q. Can an employer send me to another location for testing?

A.  Yes, but you should make clear to the employer that if you are directed to take their Covid tests off-site, the time spent taking the test is “on-the-clock.” More information here

 

Q. If I test positive, do I get sick pay?

A.  If you test positive for Covid 19, you are required to quarantine for 14 days and entitled to paid sick leave as required by New York’s COVID-19 sick leave law. More information here

 

Q. What is the difference between the test for SARS CoV2 (the virus that causes Covid 19) and an antibody test?

A.  An antibody test, usually a blood test, determines whether you have been exposed in the past to SARS CoV2 while a test for SARS CoV2 by nasal or oral swab determines if you currently have the virus in your body. Right now, we don’t know if antibodies provide someone with immunity from a future infection.   Nursing home workers are being required to take the SARS CoV2 virus test.   While you may choose to have an antibody test to find out if you were exposed previously, you are not required to take it. More information here

 

Q. If I’ve already tested positive for COVID-19 or positive for the antibody, do I have to be tested?

A.  Yes. At this time, staff who have had a positive diagnostic test for COVID-19 or a reactive serologic test for IgG against SARS-CoV-2 are still required to be tested to meet this requirement. However, this requirement may be reconsidered at a later time for previously COVID-19 positive individuals as more is learned about immunity following COVID-19. More information here.

 

Q. If I’ve already been quarantined and then test positive again, do I have to use my own PTO or sick time?

A.  No, the Union’s position is EACH time you are required to quarantine by the employer or a doctor for Covid 19, the employer must pay you without using your own PTO or sick time.

 

Q. If I’m out sick on the day of a testing, can my employer force me to come in to test?

A.  No, if you are out sick your employer should offer testing when you return to work.

Member Resources

Housing: 

  • New York is extending a moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants. At this time, eviction proceedings have been suspended and no one can be evicted in New York State until at least August 20. More information here
  • The City of New York’s COVID-19 Hotel Program provides free hotel stays to eligible New Yorkers who cannot isolate where they live and frontline workers in the healthcare industry who wish to reduce the risk of transmission at home.
  • Additional 21 day extension on property tax payment

 

Childcare:

 

Transportation:

  • Hospitals will receive a set amount of parking permits based on the number of employees. More information here
  • All New Yorkers are directed to wear face masks or face coverings while on public transportation or on ride services. More Information here

 

Resources about food assistance:

 

Health and counseling

  • Governor Cuomo issues Executive Order mandating all nursing home staff be tested for COVID-19 twice per week. More information here
  • COVID-19 emotional support hotline 1-844-863-9314
  • Support for healthcare workers experiencing anxiety through the NYC Well helpline  888-NYC-WELL (888-692- 9355) or by texting “WELL” to 65173
  • New Yorkers without health insurance can apply through the NY State of Health through may 15,2020. More information here
  • Free testing if ordered by healthcare provider here
  • State Expands Antibody testing, prioritizing first responders and healthcare personnel. More Information here
  • New Yorkers who have symptoms or questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19) can call 1-844-NYC-4NYC to connect to a medical provider free of charge seven days a week from 9 am – 9 pm. More information here
  • New York State is partnering with Northwell Health to establish 24 temporary testing sites at churches in predominantly minority communities in downstate New York. More information here
  • COVID-19 testing sites
  • New York State and local governments will provide death benefits for frontline workers who died from COVID-19 during this emergency. More information here

Public Health

Update on stay-at-home order:

  • Nonessential businesses will stay closed through May 15th. The four core factors to determine if a region can reopen are outlined here
  • Updates text COVID-19: 692-692 for English or COVIDESP to 692-692 for updates in Spanish
  • NY state COVID-19 Tracker on testing and cases here.
  • New York City is opening 40 miles of streets to allow greater social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis, with a plan to expand to a total of 100 miles.
  • Certain low-risk business and recreational activities will be ready to reopen statewide on May 15th, including landscaping and gardening businesses; and recreational activities such as tennis and drive-in movie theaters. More information here
  • Capital Region, Western New York, Central New York, North County, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Mid-Hudson Valley, and Mohawk Valley Regions have met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state’s regional phased reopening plan. More Information here.
  • Long Island on track to reopen on 5/27. More information here
  • All regions of the state except New York City are now in Phase 2 or Phase 1 of reopening. More information here
  • NYC entered phase 1 of reopening on June 8th and is now eligible to resume elective surgeries and ambulatory care. More information here
  • Main site for reopening phases and process. More information here

 

COVID-19 Testing

  • Free testing if ordered by healthcare provider
  • The state has expanded antibody testing, prioritizing first responders and healthcare personnel.
  • Governor Cuomo issues Executive Order mandating all nursing home staff be tested for COVID-19 twice per week. More information here
  • Governor Cuomo is expanding COVID-19 testing criteria to include anyone who attended a protest across the state