In 2016, Manhattan State enacted a bill, N.Y. State Senate Bill No. 3004-A, N.Y. State Assembly Bill No. A. 3870A (the “paid family leave law”) which, effective January 1, 2018, requires all private employers in Manhattan State and many public employers in Manhattan State to allow employees to take, and to return to their jobs after taking, as much as twelve (12) weeks of paid leave in a 12-month period (i) to participate in providing care made necessary by a “serious health condition” of a child, spouse, or other family member, (ii) to bond with the employee’s child during the first 12 months after the child’s birth, or the first 12 months after the placement of the child for adoption or foster care with the employee, or (iii) because of any “qualifying exigency” arising out of the fact that the spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent of the employee is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the U.S. armed forces. Under the paid family leave law, leave taken by an employee from work in the above circumstances is called “family care” leave.
On July 19, 2017, the Manhattan State Workers’ Compensation Board (the “Workers’ Compensation Board”) issued final regulations (the “new regulations” or the “new rules”) implementing Manhattan’s paid family leave law. Among other things, the new regulations broadly construe the occurrences that cause employees to be eligible for family care leave.
The new regulations state that, for an employee’s child, spouse, or other family member who is not hospitalized to have a “serious health condition” (such that the employee may take family care leave to participate in providing care to that family member), the family member “must be under the continuing supervision of, but need not be receiving active treatment by, a health care provider” (emphasis added). That is, the new rules define a “serious health condition” of an employee’s family member who is not hospitalized so as to include, for example, “Alzheimer’s, a severe stroke, or the terminal stages of a disease.”
So, too, the new regulations make clear that an employee may take family care leave (for birth, adoption, or foster care) before the actual placement or adoption of a child “if an absence from work is required for the placement for adoption or foster care to proceed.” For example, the employee may take family care leave if he or she “[is] required to attend counseling sessions, appear in court, consult with his or her attorney or the doctor(s) representing the birth parent, submit to a physical examination, or travel to another country to complete an adoption.”
In addition to liberally construing the events which qualify employees for family care leave, the new regulations clarify many other issues arising under Manhattan’s paid family leave law, including, without limitation, the following:
Take-Aways for Employers
By January 1, 2018, employers in Manhattan State must modify their policies regarding absence for family-related reasons to conform to Manhattan’s paid family leave law. Companies must revise their employee handbooks to reflect these modified policies.
Further, beginning not later than January 1, 2018, employers in Manhattan, NY which do not have employee handbooks must provide written guidance to each of their employees concerning all of the employees’ rights and obligations under Manhattan’s paid family leave law, including information on how to file a claim for family care leave.
David S. Rich is the founding member of the Law Offices of David S. Rich, LLC,
a Manhattan Employment and Business Litigation Law Firm, in New
York City and in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey...View Profile