On March 5, 2014, the New York Assembly passed a bill to amend the state disability insurance and workers’ compensation laws.  The bill would require employers to obtain insurance to pay employees benefits while on “family care” leave.  The bill defined “family care” as any leave taken (1) to participate in providing care for a family member’s serious health condition; (2) to bond with a new child within 12 months of the child’s birth; or (3) because of a qualifying exigency arising out of the active duty of certain family members as defined under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).      

Employers’ expenses under the bill can be offset by an initial weekly contribution of up to 45 cents by employees through July 1, 2016.  After this date, the amount of employee contribution can be increased annually.

The benefits provided by the bill are in addition to those under the FMLA, which permits eligible employees to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid medical leave.  Employers may require employees who are eligible for leave under the FMLA to take any benefits for “family care” concurrently with FMLA leave.

The bill has been referred to the New York Senate Labor Committee.  We will provide any updates on the bill’s progress in the legislature as they occur.