New York State Budget Updates – What Employers Need to Know

Insights New York State Budget Updates – What Employers Need to Know David J. Mahoney · New York State Budget Updates – What Employers Need to Know Maureen Bradley · May 21, 2024

On April 24, 2024, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation to implement the state’s fiscal year 2025 budget.  The budget bill contains several key changes for employers, including paid leave for prenatal care, paid breaks for employees who need to express breast milk, and a sunset date for COVID-19 paid sick leave requirements.

Paid Prenatal Personal Leave:

New York becomes the first state to mandate this leave, requiring private sector employers to provide up to twenty (20) hours of “paid prenatal personal leave” in a 52-week calendar period, beginning on January 1, 2025. The leave is for the purpose of healthcare services received related to the pregnancy such as:   “physical examinations, medical procedures, monitoring and testing, and discussions with a health care provider related to the pregnancy.”  The twenty (20) hours of paid prenatal personal leave is separate and apart from the existing NYS Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law and the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act. The leave can be taken in hourly increments and is paid in hourly increments, which is different from employers being able to set the existing New York Sick and Safety Leave at a minimum of four-hour increments. Additionally, there is no waiting period for usage or accrual of time for paid prenatal leave.

Paid Lactation Breaks:

The enacted budget provided for 30 minutes of paid break time for expressing breast milk for the employee’s nursing child. This law takes effect on June 19, 2024. The law states that both private and public sector employers must “provide paid break time for thirty minutes and permit an employee to use existing paid break time or mealtime for time in excess of thirty minutes…each time such employee has reasonable need to express breast milk for up to three years following childbirth.”  It is unclear whether the new paid break time will apply more than once daily although the “each time” language makes it plausible an employee would be entitled to multiple paid breaks during a workday.

Paid COVID-19 Sick Leave Law:

The law, originally enacted in March 2020, was never amended to set an expiration date. However, the enacted budget repeals the Paid COVID-19 Sick Leave requirement effective July 31, 2025. Governor Hochul had proposed ending the leave on July 31, 2024, but the enacted budget provides for one additional year of coverage. Following the sunset date, employees experiencing COVID-19 may still obtain paid or unpaid time off in accordance with the New York Sick and Safe Leave Law.

One proposal that did not make it into the final budget bill was the proposed increase in the benefit amount for short-term disability insurance. As a result, the state mandated disability benefit remains at the maximum of $170 per week, the rate it has been at since 1989, for the near future. NYS legislators are working on getting an increase to the benefit amount and are hoping to have it done by the end of current session which ends on June 6.

This summary is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship with Rimon, P.C. or its affiliates.

Dave Mahoney advises private business owners and their human resources professionals on how to navigate the always evolving employer-employee relationship. Dave is a trusted resource who advises companies, large and small – union and non-union, with the day-to-day challenges of complying with constantly changing federal, state, and local laws. Dave takes a proactive approach, helping employers avoid disputes by establishing policies and procedures that are designed to establish clear avenues of communication and expectations between companies and their workforces to avoid litigation whenever possible. Dave also regularly conducts internal audits and investigations to solve problems before they arise. Read more here.

Maureen Bradley is a Human Capital Business Advisor with Rimon. Her primary focus is assisting federal contractor/subcontractor clients in the development and maintenance of their Affirmative Action Plans (AAP). She proactively reviews and analyzes the client’s employment activity data to ensure compliance with all AAP regulations and she assists clients with their compliance review submissions to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Read more here.