New York Lawmakers Pass Bill Mandating 3 Months Paid Bereavement Leave

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Jim Cole

New York state lawmakers passed a bill at the end of the legislative session mandating that employees be entitled to three months of paid bereavement leave to mourn loved ones who passed away—including grandparents.

The legislation, which is awaiting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature, would allow employees to take three months off to grieve for a deceased spouse, child, parent, grandparent, or grandchild, Fox News reported.

New York’s current family leave law allows employees paid time off to care for sick relatives or a newborn child, but the recently passed legislation allows grieving employees to receive 50 to 67 percent of their weekly salary for up to 12 weeks.

“I’ve experienced the pain of losing a child. The grief can be unpredictable and overwhelming,” said state Sen. Richard Funke (R-Fairport), who co-sponsored the bill with state Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D-Rochester). “No employee should have to fear losing their job in order to take the time they need to mourn.”

Both Funke and Morelle have experienced the loss of their adult children.

But some small business owners say the legislation could put an undue burden on companies that cannot afford to pay their workers the extra money.

“For a small business, I don’t know how anybody could survive with anything like that,” Queens Chamber of Commerce President Tom Grech told the New York Post. “At the end of the day, New York City and New York state are among the most expensive places to do business in the country. This just puts another burden on small businesses.”

“Who this really affects are the small employers who are being hit with another burden that’s difficult to manage,” said Zach Hutchins, a spokesperson for the Business Council of New York State.

Cuomo, a Democrat, supported the family leave policy giving employees time off to care for sick relatives and newborn children.

A spokesperson for Cuomo said the governor plans to look over the bereavement bill before signing it.

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