New York Death in Family laws & HR compliance analysis

New York Death in Family: What you need to know

Private employers. New York law does not require bereavement time off for employees working in the private sector; however, most employers do offer workers some form of time off for bereavement after the death of a loved one.
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Public employers. State law does not mandate bereavement leave for state employees. However, most employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements, which specify the terms of bereavement leave.
Many organizations have a separate policy on death in family; others include it in their general leave policy. A fairly common provision is for a period of 3 days off with pay. In some policies, the limit is applied per incident; in others, per year.
Definition of “immediate family.” The most common definition of “immediate family” is spouse, child, mother, father, mother-in-law, father-in-law, and brother or sister of the individual employee. Many employers also include spouse of child, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandparents, and grandchildren.
Same-sex partners. Employers in New York that grant funeral or bereavement leave to an employee for the death of an employee's spouse, or the child, parent, or other relative of the spouse must provide the same leave to an employee for the death of the employee's same-sex committed partner, or the child, parent, or other relative of the committed partner (NY Civ. Rts. Law Sec. 79-n). Committed partners are those who are financially and emotionally interdependent in a manner commonly presumed of spouses.
Employee assistance programs (EAPs). Employers that have an EAP may consider offering bereaved employees the opportunity to see a grief counselor through the EAP.
Last reviewed on January 19, 2017.

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