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 the Coronavirus.

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, 2020. 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.

Mortgages and Rent


The Department of Financial Services has issued a new directive to New York State mortgage servicers to provide 90-day mortgage relief to mortgage borrowers impacted by the novel coronavirus.

The directive includes:

  • Waiving mortgage payments based on financial hardship;
  • No negative reporting to credit bureaus;
  • Grace period for loan modification;
  • No late payment fees or online payment fees; and
  • Postponing or suspending foreclosures.

The Department of Financial Services has provided guidance to mortgage servicers regarding support for borrowers impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).


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 October 20.

The state is also banning late payments or fees for missed rent payments during the eviction moratorium, and allowing renters facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to use their security deposit as payment and repay their security deposit over time.

Read the Executive Order that includes these protections for renters and tenants.

Read the Executive Order that extends these protections for renters and tenants.

Find additional information and frequently asked questions for renters and tenants.

New: COVID Rental Assistance Program

The COVID Rental Assistance Program will provide direct aid for tenants who lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is part of the Federal CARES Act. The program is administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal and access to program applications will be available on Thursday, July 16. 

To qualify for the program, applicants must meet all of the eligibility requirements:

  • Must be a renter with a primary residence in New York State.
  • Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, household income (including unemployment benefits) must be below 80 percent of the Area Median Income, adjusted for household size. Applicants can find the Area Median Income for their county, based on household size, on HCR's website here.
  • Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, the household must have been "rent burdened," which is defined as paying more than 30 percent of gross monthly income towards rent.
  • Applicants must have lost income during any period between April 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020.
  • The application period will be open for two weeks. Residents can apply any time during the two-week period. 


HCR will prioritize households with greatest economic and social need, accounting for income, rent burden, percent of income lost and risk of homelessness. The rental assistance payment will cover the difference between the household's rent burden on March 1, 2020 and the increase in rent burden during the period the household is applying for assistance. Households can apply for up to four months in rental assistance for the months of April through July. The program is open to households that rent apartments, single-family homes, manufactured homes and manufactured home lots. 

Households with at least one household member with U.S. Citizenship or eligible immigration status are qualified to receive the subsidy. Tenants currently receiving a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher for housing costs or who reside in public housing are not eligible for RRP assistance.

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