Losing family members is rough. We all go through it. It takes quite a while to get through the loss and work through estate issues. This is just reality. However, state lawmakers in New York are taking the concept of bereavement leave entirely too far, according to business owners and many Americans who have been through the whole process on more than one occasion.
New York lawmakers have approved a bill that would give employees in the Empire State three months paid bereavement leave to mourn the loss of a loved one – in turn, spurring concerns among business owners that the policy would create a staffing crisis.
The expansive bill would cover the death of a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, in-law, grandparent or grandchild. It was passed by the state Senate and Assembly at the end of the legislative session in June and now awaits the signature of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The state’s current Paid Family Leave law gives employees paid time off to bond with a new child or care for a sick relative. But the new legislation significantly expands leave policies, allowing grieving employees to collect 50 to 67 percent of the average weekly wage for up to 12 weeks.
WHOA! What? Some of us were back at our desks the day after our grandparents’ funerals, and we still hadn’t cleaned out their houses yet.
“I’ve experienced the pain of losing a child. The grief can be unpredictable and overwhelming,” Richard Funke, a Republican state senator representing parts of Monroe and Ontario counties, said in a statement. “No employee should have to fear losing their job in order to take the time they need to mourn.”
Funke and the bill’s cosponsor, Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, a Democrat from Rochester, have both lost adult children.
While tragic, how can businesses survive with a diminished workforce and still paying the majority of a salary?
“For a small business, I don’t know how anybody could survive with anything like that,” Tom Grech, president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, told the New York Post. “At the end of the day, New York City and New York state are among the most expensive places to do business in the country. This just puts another burden on small businesses.”
The Business Council of New York State also opposes the paid bereavement.
“Who this really affects are the small employers who are being hit with another burden that’s difficult to manage,” group spokesman Zach Hutchins told the newspaper.
It is a reality that the perpetual do-gooders refuse to see.