News10NBC Investigates: Gov. budget proposal ends COVID sick pay in July

Investigates: An update on COVID sick pay

The News10NBC Team details breaking News, Traffic and Weather.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – If you are currently home sick with COVID, we feel your pain.

But take advantage of the five days of COVID sick pay now because in the governor’s budget plan, that benefit goes away.

The budget brief says, “Legislation submitted with the budget sunsets the law” that created COVID sick pay.

A budget office document says, “As the federal COVID-19 State of Emergency has concluded, it would be prudent for this COVID-19 sick leave initiative to conclude as well. The bill would sunset the state’s COVID-19 Sick Leave Law as of July 31, 2024.”

In September, I told the COVID sick pay story while I got a tour of the Rochester manufacturing plant owned by Bob Rock. At the time, New York was the only state in the country that still provided COVID sick pay.

“It’s five extra days. What’s the big deal?” I asked Rock in September.
“Think about that – five extra days for every single employee at my company,” Rock said. “You’re talking about thousands of dollars that would come out of our pocket.”

Assemblyman John McDonald, a Democrat from Albany and a pharmacist, co-sponsored a bill with Rochester State Sen. Jeremy Cooney. The bill authorized a period of time to study the impact of ending the state-mandated COVID sick pay.

“It’s really time that we look at COVID like any other health care issue,” said McDonald in September. “We do not have five days set aside for influenza.”

Health is the topic of a state budget hearing on January 23. We’ll be watching to see if lawmakers question the end of COVID sick pay.

The budget deadline is April 1. If the budget passes as is, COVID sick pay end at the end of July.