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Out-of-state vacations hitting head-on with executive order # 202.45

There has been some reported confusion about certain aspects of this executive order.

In addition to requiring a 14-day quarantine for NYS residents returning from voluntary travel to certain identified “hot spot” states, this Executive Order eliminates entitlement for New Yorkers to the COVID-19 two-week paid sick time provisions of Subdivision 4, Section 1 of Chapter 25 of the Laws of 2020. For employers with 100 or more employees (which includes the vast majority of school districts), the provision mandated up to 14 days of employer-paid sick leave for COVID-19 quarantine with no loss of other accrued sick leave.

SAANYS has learned that there are questions about the interpretation of Executive Order # 202.45 regarding members’ pre-planned, out-of-state vacations and the ability to take those hard-earned vacations. Some employers, supported by opinions of school district counsel, are taking the position that administrators should cancel their vacations because they are “not entitled” to paid sick leave during the subsequent 14-day quarantine period. Please understand that SAANYS’ interpretation of the Executive Law 202.45 is that the order only applies to the state 14 days paid sick leave law. The law does not infringe upon our members’ right to take contractual sick leave to quarantine thereafter. Also, given our experience with COVID, the Executive Order does not prevent working remotely either. Therefore, it is important to consult with SAANYS when the employing school district makes statements about denying access to contractual sick leave for employees returning from “hot spot” states or working remotely.  Do not be bullied into giving up your well-earned vacation. Call the SAANYS Legal Department for assistance.

It is also our interpretation that this leave benefit restriction related to travel to and from an ever-increasing number of “identified” states would only apply to travel that commenced after a state had been “identified” by the governor. In other words, if a state is identified while you are already there, the loss of COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave may not apply, even if the mandated quarantine was imposed. This will be likely true for building and program leaders during the final stages of preparation for the upcoming school year and certainly for the date on which schools are scheduled to reopen for instructional staff.