Some states have comprehensive laws that require employers to grant employees time off for the birth or adoption of a child or to care for a family member with a serious illness, but New York does not have such a law. However, New York employers with 50 or more employees are likely covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
The New York Marriage Equality Act gives same-sex couples the right to marry (NY Dom. Rel. Law Sec. 10-a). Under the Act, a marriage that is otherwise valid is legally recognized regardless of whether the parties to the marriage are of the same or different sex. The same rights, benefits, privileges, protections, and responsibilities under state law apply to married same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples.
Interaction with federal FMLA. Under the federal FMLA, a covered "spouse" is a husband or wife as defined or recognized under state law for purposes of marriage in the state where the employee resides. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in United States v. Windsor (S.Ct. No. 12-307, June 26, 2013)held that the federal Defense of Marriage Act’s (DOMA) definition of "marriage" as a legal union between one man and one woman is unconstitutional. Because marriages between same-sex couples are recognized in the state of New York, the federal FMLA’s definition of a “spouse” will apply to employees in a same-sex marriage who reside in the state.
If a private employer or government agency voluntarily offers paternity or maternity leave to employees following the birth of a child, leave must also be offered on the same terms and with the same benefits to employees who adopt a child. However, adoptive parents are ...