SUPPORT – A1834 Harris, et al

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ON ASSEMBLY LABOR AGENDA 5/23/17

A1834 Harris, et al

The New York State AFL-CIO, representing 2.5 million union members and their families as well as our retirees and their families, supports the above referenced legislation.

This bill amends the Workers’ Compensation Law to make a technical clarification to the paid family leave law that was enacted in the 2016-17 state budget. The current law inadvertently made some workers ineligible to use the family leave benefit. This clarification will ensure that all employees who pay for family leave insurance will be eligible to utilize the benefit.

The family leave law requires almost all private sector employees to pay for insurance that will provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for an immediate family member if they become ill or to bond with a newborn child. Employees become eligible to use the benefit only after they have been employed continuously for 26 weeks with the same employer.

The 26-week requirement however, inadvertently excludes some workers from being able to actually use the benefit that they will be required to pay for. For example, construction workers who gain employment through hiring halls work for multiple employers, often for short timeframes and often with breaks in between jobs.  

This means many will not reach the 26 weeks of continuous employment threshold, making them ineligible to use the insurance even though they will be paying for it. This bill will rectify the problem by stipulating that as long as a worker reaches 26 weeks of employment during the previous 39-week period (3 quarters) they will qualify for the benefit.

This important clarification will ensure that the paid family leave law will be implemented fairly for all workers in the state.  

Therefore, this Federation urges this bill be passed.

For further information, contact the Legislative Department.