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Return to Work Checklist for New York Employers

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Do you operate a small business in New York and are wondering how you can safely return to work? 

Handrawn image of New York skyline.

Considerations for New York State Employers While Preparing to Bring Employees Back to Work

This is not an exhaustive list. It is an addendum to the SurePayroll Return to Work Checklist. Employers should consult with their HR professionals, legal counsel where appropriate, as well as the New York Department of Labor and COVID-19 websites.

  • Guidance on re-opening businesses. The state has announced a plan to re-open and it divides New York into regions. Check with your local jurisdiction to learn whether they might have additional requirements.
  • What date should employees be recalled or rehired? This impacts employers seeking loan forgiveness for their Paycheck Protection Program loan.
  • Know how to address any changes that have been made to state or local paid leave laws. The state has passed legislation to provide paid leave to employees who are subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by a covered government agency – SB 8091 / AB 10153 – on paid leave. For additional information, check out this website.
  • Understand the obligations under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) if you have unionized employees. Check CBA for rehire/recall language, including agreed upon factors in order to bring employees back. Most changes will need to be negotiated with the union.
  • If an employee was terminated and signed a separation agreement, check the language to see if the rehire requires an amendment to the separation agreement. 
  • Consider providing letter offering return to work to employees.
  • Review and adhere to internal policies on rehiring to determine any reinstatement of accrued PTO or vacation time.
  • Provide a new Form W-4 in case the employee wants to make changes upon returning to work.
  • Ensure “new hire” employee documents (i.e. employee handbook, arbitration agreement, etc.) are updated and properly executed.
  • Does the employee need to update an existing Form I-9 or complete a new Form I-9? Review information and compliance requirements for Form I-9.
  • Did employee elect COBRA, State Continuation, or other health insurance conversion rights?
  • Determine status of health plans, cafeteria plans, and fringe benefit plans, such as vision and dental insurance.
  • Determine implications for 401(k), 403(b), and pension plans.
  • Evaluate executive compensation and severance arrangements.
  • Consider appropriate actions related to COVID-19 health pandemic. Learn what new supplemental policies on safety are recommended or required to be followed and documented. For example, measures to promote social distancing in the workplace and safety equipment such as masks and gloves will be provided.

Additional considerations as you prepare to return employees to work include applicable wage and hour laws, especially if employees have different work schedules, pay, and classification under state and federal laws. Check out our Return to Work resource hub for FAQs and view this New York-specific webinar we co-hosted with Paychex and Oasis on navigating the state’s workplace for helpful information.

For the latest on what New York businesses should know:

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This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. SurePayroll is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, SurePayroll. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant. If you require legal or accounting advice or need other professional assistance, you should always consult your licensed attorney, accountant or other tax professional to discuss your particular facts, circumstances and business needs.