You may be entitled to various benefits from your company, such as health benefits, vacation pay and the ability to telecommute. But what happens if a loved one dies? Will you get paid for taking time off to grieve?
There answer is, it depends. There currently is no state or federal law requiring that New York companies pay employees for bereavement pay. What does bereavement pay mean? It means that an employee is paid by his or her employer to take time off and grieve the death of a loved one.
Whether or not an employee is entitled to bereavement pay depends on company policy. However, there are a few laws that apply. If you do not receive the pay you are entitled to receive, you may be a victim of discrimination.
Bereavement Pay Requirements
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, bereavement leave is a matter between an employer and an employee. Only one state requires bereavement leave. Oregon requires that companies with 25 or more employees pay bereavement leave for employees who have worked at least 25 hours a week for the past 180 days. Employees are allowed up to two weeks of leave for each deceased family member.
In Illinois, employers with more than 50 people are required to allow employees to take 10 days off following the death of a child.
If your company offers bereavement leave outside of these states, it is optional and can be done in various ways. For example, some companies only allow bereavement pay when a parent, sibling, child, or spouse dies. Others may cover extended family members. Some companies offer just one day off to attend a funeral. Others offer three, five, seven or 10 days. Some may offer time off without pay.
New Bereavement Pay Bill for New Yorkers
New York currently has a Paid Family Leave law that allows parents to take 12 weeks off to bond with a new child and allows employees to care for a sick family member. A new bill would grant 12 weeks of bereavement leave to New Yorkers who experience a death in the family. This law covers spouses, children, parents, mothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, grandparents. and grandchildren.
This leave would be paid, which means that small businesses are not happy with the bill. Three months seems like a long time to take off work for a death in the family, but everyone grieves differently. The bill is currently under review.
Contact a New York Employment Discrimination Lawyer
While bereavement leave is not required by New York law at this time, it likely will be in the future, which is good news for employees who suffer a death in the family. However, this law can be financially costly for businesses, and some employers may deny employees their right to bereavement.
If you are entitled to bereavement leave but have been denied by your employer, make sure you understand your legal rights. The experienced New York discrimination lawyers at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can assess your case and hold your company responsible for its actions. Call (347) 464-8694 to schedule a free consultation.