Quick Hits

  • A proposal included in the passage of the state budget will require employers to provide up to twenty hours of paid leave to pregnant employees for prenatal care each year.
  • Other approved budget proposals provide for paid lactation breaks and will sunset COVID-19 paid sick leave requirements.

On April 20, 2024, Governor Hochul signed multiple pieces of legislation to implement the state’s $237 billion fiscal year (FY) 2025 budget. The new laws include several key proposals affecting employers, including paid leave for prenatal care, paid breaks for employees who need to express breast milk, and a sunset for COVID-19 paid sick leave requirements.

Paid Leave for Prenatal Care

Under Senate Bill (S) 8305C, employers will be required to provide up to twenty hours of “paid prenatal personal leave” a year beginning on January 1, 2025. The law requires paid leave “for the health care services received by an employee during their pregnancy or related to such pregnancy, including physical examinations, medical procedures, monitoring and testing, and discussions with a health care provider related to the pregnancy.”

The law also provides that paid prenatal personal leave may be taken in “hourly increments” and paid in “hourly installments” at employees’ “regular rate of pay” or minimum wage, whichever is greater. The twenty hours of paid prenatal personal leave is separate from any qualifying paid sick leave and therefore does not cut into an employee’s existing paid sick time allotment. 

Paid Lactation Breaks

A separate budget law, Senate Bill (S) 8306C, makes further adjustments to New York’s lactation and breastfeeding accommodation requirements. As of June 19, 2024, covered employers will be required to provide paid thirty-minute breaks for employees who need to express breast milk for a nursing child.

Specifically, the law states that employers must “provide paid break time for thirty minutes, and permit an employee to use existing paid break time or meal time for time in excess of thirty minutes … each time such employee has reasonable need to express breast milk for up to three years following child birth.” Previously, New York law only required employers to provide “reasonable unpaid break time” or paid break time or meal time to express breast milk.

Paid COVID-19 Sick Leave

Additionally, S8306C will sunset the COVID-19 sick leave requirements as of July 31, 2025. The pandemic-era requirements mandate that employers provide paid sick leave and certain other benefits to employees when they are subject to mandatory or cautionary quarantining or isolation due to COVID-19.

Ogletree Deakins’ New York Office will continue to monitor developments and will provide updates on the Leaves of Absence, New York, and Wage and Hour blogs.

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