New York Moves on Bereavement Leave Legislation
New York is close to becoming the second state to enact legislation requiring employers to provide employees with bereavement leave. The legislation recently passed in the New York Assembly and Senate, and awaits the possible signature of Governor Andrew Cuomo.
At the beginning of 2018, the New York Paid Family Leave Act (PFL) took effect. PFL amended state workers’ compensation law, affording time off for employees to care for a family member with a serious health condition or to bond with their child. The amount of leave time that individuals using PFL may use is being implemented under a tiered system through 2021, when employees will be able to use 12 weeks of leave annually.
The proposed bill would further amend state workers’ compensation law and include a new qualifying event allowing individuals to use up to 12 weeks of PFL for bereavement after the death of a family member — a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or in-law. The paid bereavement leave benefit would begin in 2020 if signed.
There is no federal law that requires employers to provide employees with bereavement leave, and Oregon is the only state that currently affords bereavement law. Despite the lack of a legal requirement, many employers already voluntarily offer employees bereavement leave. However, most employers that voluntarily offer bereavement leave do not offer nearly as much as would be afforded under the PFL if the legislation was enacted.
If enacted, the legislation would apply to all policies or contracts issued, renewed, modified, altered, or amended on or after January 1, 2020.
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