Know Your Rights

Paid Sick Leave

Protecting All New Yorkers During Uncertain Times

On March 18, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed emergency legislation guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

This groundbreaking new measure will help ensure that New Yorkers are able to care for their family without jeopardizing their economic security and builds on the Governor’s unprecedented actions to protect and uplift workers and their families.

The new law enacts emergency paid sick leave to guarantee workers job protection and provide financial compensation while they are on a mandatory or precautionary quarantine due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Sick Leave guidance 

COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave


Unemployment Insurance Waiting Period Waived

On March 12, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order waiving the 7-day waiting period for workers in shared work programs to claim unemployment insurance for those that have been put out of work by COVID-19.

File for Unemployment

The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security)

On March 27, 2020, the President of the United States signed the CARES Act, which provides support for Americans who are unable to work due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but do not qualify for traditional Unemployment Insurance. Through the CARES Act, you will also be eligible to receive:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance – Extended eligibility for individuals who have traditionally been ineligible for UI benefits (e.g., self-employed workers, independent contractors);  

Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – An additional $600 per week, on top of regular benefits, to all UI recipients through July 31, 2020; and

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation – An additional 13 weeks of UI benefits, beyond the regular 26 weeks already provided, for a total of 39 weeks of coverage.

The best way to apply is online. The Department of Labor has a streamlined application that allows you to apply for either traditional Unemployment Insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), depending on eligibility. You do not have to complete a separate application for PUA.

On April 8, 2020, Governor Cuomo directed the State Department of Labor to immediately make $600 in additional weekly unemployment benefits available to all New Yorkers. The additional benefits were included in the Federal CARES Act, but unlike other states, New York began delivering the extra unemployment insurance before Federal funds were disbursed to the states.

Guidance for Specific Professions

Self-Employed, Contractors and Farmers

Teachers and Other School Workers

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions about the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and general information about Unemployment Insurance in the wake of COVID-19.

Unemployment FAQs

If you have questions about your unemployment insurance claim, or need filing a claim, contact the Department of Labor.

There is unprecedented call volume and web traffic to the New York State Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance claim center. Please be patient and keep trying and know that you will receive all benefits to which you are entitled. Your claim will start on the day you were separated from your employer.



Special Enrollment Period for NY State of Health

Uninsured New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health or directly to insurers during a special enrollment period that ends December 31, 2021. If you lost employer coverage, you must apply within 60 days of losing that coverage. Because of a loss of income, New Yorkers may also be eligible for Medicaid, the Essential Plan, subsidized Qualified Health Plans or Child Health Plus.

Telehealth Co-payments Waived

If you are feeling sick, use telehealth services before going to the doctor's office, urgent care or the emergency room. Telehealth services keep you safer and those around you safer.

The State Department of Financial Services will require insurance companies to waive co-pays for telehealth visits. This action will encourage New Yorkers to seek medical attention from their homes rather than visit a hospital or doctor's office — ultimately reducing strain on the healthcare system and preventing further spread of the virus.

Free Mental Health Services

As of March 26, more than 8,600 mental health professionals, including individuals from other states, have signed up to provide free online mental health services.

New Yorkers can call the state's hotline at 1-844-863-9314 to schedule a free appointment.

Individual or Small Group Health Insurance Policies

Through June 1, 2020, consumers and businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may defer paying premiums under individual and small group health insurance policies. DFS shall consider any liquidity or solvency concerns of the health plans. During this period, health plans will be required to continue to pay claims, not to report late payments to credit rating agencies, and to work with individuals to help them transition to new coverage, if appropriate. In addition, insurers are reminded that they cannot impose late payment fees. Governor Cuomo thanked Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont for his collaboration on this initiative.

Free Mental Health Services for New York's Frontline Essential Workers 

New York State Department of Financial Services will extend an emergency regulation requiring New York health insurers to waive out-of-pocket costs, including cost-sharing, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance, for in-network mental health services for New York's frontline essential workers during COVID-19 until November 27. The extension of this emergency regulation helps to ensure that cost-sharing is not a barrier to in-network mental health services during COVID-19 for health care workers, first responders, transit workers, food services workers, retail workers at essential businesses, and other frontline essential employees, who are required to directly interact with the public while working during this continuing public health emergency. Governor Cuomo first announced the State's directive requiring New York insurers to waive out-of-pocket costs for in-network mental health services for frontline essential workers during COVID-19 in May.

Student Loans

On April 7, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced an agreement with the largest student loan servicers in New York to obtain relief for student loan borrowers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 who contact their private student loan servicer.

Available relief includes 90 days of deferred monthly payments, waived late fees, no negative reporting to credit agencies, and enrolling eligible borrowers in available long-term assistance program.

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, only provides relief to borrowers whose loans are owned by the federal government. This agreement with the student loan industry provides much-needed relief to these outstanding borrowers whose loans are privately owned. 


Death Benefits for Frontline Workers

State and local governments will provide death benefits for frontline workers who died from COVID-19 during this emergency.

Employers Required to Provide Masks

Executive Order 202.16 directs employers to provide essential workers with masks free of charge to wear when interacting with the public.

Federal Stimulus Checks

Governor Cuomo launched an awareness campaign encouraging low-income New Yorkers to claim their Economic Impact Payments under the CARES Act.

The Act provides $1,200 payments to individuals making below $75,000 and $2,400 payments to married couples making below $150,000. However, taxpayers will only receive their payments automatically if they filed 2018 or 2019 federal tax returns. Because the federal filing threshold is roughly $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples, hundreds of thousands of the lowest income New Yorkers who are not required to file returns will not receive their payments unless they provide their information to the IRS. 

To support the Governor's awareness campaign, the Department of Taxation and Finance launched an Economic Impact Payment information: what you need to know web page and will do direct outreach to taxpayers who may not automatically receive the payments they're owed. The Tax Department will also partner with the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, NYS Division of Veterans' Services, the Department of Labor and local community organizations to raise awareness and ensure action is taken by those who need this benefit most. 

Blood Donation

New Yorkers who have recovered from COVID-19 are encouraged to donate blood. Individuals who have recovered from the virus may have convalescent plasma in their blood, which has antibodies against the virus and could help with the development of a treatment for the virus. Here’s information on how to donate.

In general, healthy New Yorkers are encouraged to donate blood. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there have been severe blood shortages in New York and throughout the country over concerns it might not be safe to go to blood donation centers. Giving blood is safe. Blood donation centers have implemented precautions to minimize density and ensure the safety of donors and staff, including requiring donors to make an appointment. Make an appointment to give blood today.

Marriages During COVID-19

Governor Cuomo issued executive order 202.20 allowing New Yorkers to obtain a marriage license remotely and allowing any authorized officiant to perform marriage ceremonies using online video technology.


Major utilities will suspend service shutoffs to households during the COVID-19 outbreak.

On March 25, the Public Service Commission approved orders postponing rate increases for nearly 2 million customers of New York American Water and National Grid upstate that were scheduled to go into effect on April 1st. 


Testing is free to all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider or by calling the NYS COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

Find more information on COVID-19 testing protocols.

Your local health department is your community contact for COVID-19 concerns.

Price Gouging

New Yorkers are urged to call 1-800-697-1220 or complete the consumer complaint form to report unfair price increases of products such as household cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

File a Complaint