12 Weeks of Paid Bereavement Leave in New York State (Potentially?)

Original Date: October 15, 2018

Do not let this headline fool you, the 12-weeks of paid bereavement leave legislation passed through the Senate and Assembly without many of our organizations knowing about the potential changes, earlier this year.  This bill is designed to modify the current New York State Paid Family Leave law to include paid bereavement.  The paid leave will draw from the same pool of money as Paid Family Leave, from the worker’s compensation fund.  The bill has not been signed into law but is awaiting the governor’s approval, after it is presented.

Below is current information on paid bereavement leave and additional informational websites:

  1. “Section 1:
    1. Amended Part A to state (a) to participate in providing care, including physical or psychological care, for a family member of the employee made necessary by a serious health condition of the family member including bereavement upon the death of such family member.
    2. Adds a new Part D that states “Family leave” shall mean any leave taken by an employee from work: (d) leave taken for the purposes of bereavement due to the death of a family member.
  2. Section 4:
    1. Amended to include that in the case of family leave due to bereavement”[i]
  3. “The bereavement provision would cover the death of a worker’s spouse or domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent or grandchild.”[ii]
  4. “Under the Paid Family Leave law, workers can collect a portion of their average weekly wage — ranging from 50 to 67 percent as the law is phased in — but capped at the corresponding amount of the statewide average. The state average weekly wage is currently $1,357, according to the Department of Labor, which means the most anyone can currently collect is about $680 a week.”[iii]

Additional Information:

Senate Bill S8380A

PDF Version of the Bill

Again, the bill has passed through the Senate and Assembly, but has not yet been presented to Governor Cuomo.  My thoughts on the bill passage, is, we will not see any movement, signature or implementation on these significant changes until after the November elections and 2019 increases/changes to NYS Paid Family Leave.  Organizations should continue monitor for any communications or updates to this pending legislation, as it will impact the way we manage our organizations and workforce.  As a reminder the employee deduction rates will increase in 2019, to offset the 10-week, 55% increases to Paid Family Leave, shown below for increases in granted leave in 2019.  Seek guidance on PFL or paid bereavement leave if you do have questions.

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– Matthew Burr, HR Consultant

[i] https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/s8380

[ii] https://nypost.com/2018/08/01/bill-would-grant-12-weeks-paid-bereavement-leave-to-all-new-york-workers/

[iii] https://nypost.com/2018/08/01/bill-would-grant-12-weeks-paid-bereavement-leave-to-all-new-york-workers/

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