Labor Rights


1. Organizing for Health & Safety

2. OSHA Protections

3. Emergency Paid Sick Leave

4. Paid Family Leave

5. Short-Term Disability Benefits

6. Worker's Compensation

7. Unemployment Insurance

Organizing for Health & Safety

Workers who advocate for safer conditions on the job are protected against employer retaliation under the National Labor Relations Act if the activity is ruled to be “concerted activity.” Concerted activity includes activities engaged in by employees for mutual aid or protection, such as for their health and safety. The best way to act in a “concerted” manner is to have two or more workers act together. In New York State, beginning in 2020, farmworkers have the right to engage in protected concerted activity under the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Pratices Act, but are prohibited from striking.


OSHA Protections

Under federal law, employers are required to ensure that workplaces are "free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm." This includes providing gloves, eye and face protection, and respiratory protection when job hazards warrant it. Workers who are concerned about their working conditions can file an anonymous complaint with OSHA, which may result in an inspection of your workplace. Contact WJCNY for assistance filing an anonymous complaint. 


Emergency Paid Sick Leave

In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, New York State now guarantees workers job protection and financial compensation if you or your minor dependent child are subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation. (If your child's school is closed for preventive social distancing, you are not eligible.)

Under federal law, those affected by COVID-19 are entitled to up to 80 hours of paid sick leave with full pay (capped at $5,110) if your company employs 499 workers or less, with limited exceptions.

If your employer does not provide the required paid sick leave, you may file a complaint with the NYS Department of Labor.  


Paid Family Leave

Paid family leave allows an employee to care for a family member up to 60% of their regular salary for 10 weeks. If a family member has a serious health condition certified by a licensed health care provider, you may qualify for the New York State Paid Family Leave.


Short-Term Disability Benefits

Employees who become ill or injured outside of work may be eligible for temporary disability benefits. Disability benefits are paid at 50% of an employee's average weekly salary with a maximum of $170 per week.


Worker's Compensation

Workers' Compensation is insurance that provides cash benefits and/or medical care for workers who are injured or become ill as a direct result of their job. Nearly all employers are required by law to carry worker's compensation insurance.


Unemployment Insurance

Those who qualify for unemployment benefits can be paid up to Pays benefits as much as $504 per week for up to 39 weeks, plus an additional $600 per week in federal coronavirus relief.

NYS has waived the 7-day waiting period to apply for benefits.  To file unemployment insurance claims, visit the NYS Department of Labor.

Your immigration status may affect your eligibility to apply for unemployment benefits.