NY bill mandates 3 months paid bereavement leave, even when grandparents die

New York lawmakers have approved a bill that would give employees in the Empire State three months paid bereavement leave to mourn the loss of a loved one – in turn, spurring concerns among business owners that the policy would create a staffing crisis.

The expansive bill would cover the death of a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, in-law, grandparent or grandchild. It was passed by the state Senate and Assembly at the end of the legislative session in June and now awaits the signature of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The state’s current Paid Family Leave law gives employees paid time off to bond with a new child or care for a sick relative. But the new legislation significantly expands leave policies, allowing grieving employees to collect 50 to 67 percent of the average weekly wage for up to 12 weeks. 

Business owners and groups representing their interests, though, contend that the change would put an unnecessary strain on their companies. The Business Council of New York State also opposes the paid bereavement.

Cuomo supported the Paid Family Leave policy that starting this year gives paid time off to new parents, people caring for a loved one with a serious health condition and those facing family pressures when a loved one is called to active military service abroad.

A spokeswoman for Cuomo said they plan to review the bereavement leave bill.