New York Governor Vetoes Paid Family Leave Revision to Workers’ Comp

Staff Report

Albany, NY ( – In the waning days of 2018, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have amended the workers’ compensation law in his state, and according to the Governor, would have resulted in a “dramatic burden on low-wage workers.” SB S8380 would have required workers receive paid leave time in the event of the death of a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, spouse or domestic partner. It was an effort to expand a program passed earlier in the year; a paid family leave program which gave employees compensated time off to care for a newborn, adopted/fostered child, care for a family member with a serious illness or assist when a family member who serves in the military is deployed.

The bill Amended Part A of the appropriate statute 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.” The bill also states, “The inability to take time to process grief not only has an impact on a person’s health and their family, it has a profound impact on their ability to carry out their normal day to day tasks.”

This revised program would have been entirely funded by worker contributions. Cuomo vetoed the bill on December 28th.

In a statement, the Governor said, “There is no greater loss than the death of a close family member, and I fully understand the spirit of this bill to ensure that hardworking New Yorkers can take time to mourn the passing of a loved one. But, as drafted, this bill raises numerous concerns. First, the 12 week benefit upon full implementation would constitute an extreme expansion of the paid family leave program, the cost of which would result in a dramatic burden on low-wage workers. We anticipate that the employee contribution would increase significantly as the utilization of a new class of benefits is actuarially factored into the premium rate, which is set annually.”

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