New York state lawmakers want to require businesses to give workers three months of paid bereavement leave so they have ample time to mourn when a loved one dies.
The Senate and Assembly have already passed the bill, which is currently under review by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, WCBS-TV reported. If finalized, it would be added to the state’s Paid Family Leave law, which went into effect in January.
Who sponsored the bill?
Republican Sen. Richard Funke of Batavia, whose son died, sponsored the bill, the TV station reported.
“I’ve experienced the pain of losing a child. The grief can be unpredictable and overwhelming,” Funke said in a statement. “No employee should have to fear losing their job in order to take the time they need to mourn.”
Sen. David Carlucci, a Democrat from Clarkstown, co-sponsored the bill.
“We need to make it as easy as possible, be humane and understand the real cost involved in losing a loved one,” Carlucci said.
The bill would require employers to pay 50 to 67 percent of the state's average weekly wage, or about $680 per week, the report states. Workers would also be guaranteed the same or comparable job when they return from bereavement leave.
What did the business owners say?
Some small business owners told the WCBS the law could be crippling.
“Our business and any other small business it would be catastrophic,” said Greg Greenwood, owner of Bleeker Street Pizza. “Twelve weeks paid leave. We need all the staff that we have.”
One of the biggest problems would be having to train new people, then laying them off when an employee returns from leave.
“That would be a very awkward situation,” Greenwood said.
Christine Ippolito, who owns a human resources services for small businesses, agreed.
“This has the potential to be a severe economic hardship on small companies, as well as cause operational issues when key people are out,” Ippolito told the TV station.
Zack Hutchins, of the Business Council of New York, said the governor should not sign the bill.
“We seem to be painting all employers with this broad brush that they’re bad and that they’re out to get their employees, and that’s simply not the case,” he said.