May 01, 2024 General Employment Issues

New York Provides Paid Leave for Prenatal Care

New York State recently became the first state to give pregnant employees paid time off to obtain prenatal medical care. As part of the budget passed on April 20, 2024, the state expanded its paid sick leave law. Employers should consult with counsel regarding the requirements of the law as more details become available. 

What Is in the Law? 

Employers are required to provide 20 hours of additional paid sick time each year for prenatal care. This includes time for doctor’s appointments, procedures, and tests. The 20 hours is separate from paid sick time already mandated under New York law. The paid prenatal leave can be taken in hourly increments. Employees must be paid their regular rate of pay when using this leave. 

The leave requirement takes effect January 1, 2025.

Why Was the Law Passed?

Governor Hochul noted increases in the infant mortality rate nationwide and the importance of ensuring that New Yorkers can access the care they need. The leave law expands on other initiatives supporting maternal health and new parents, including New York’s paid parental leave benefits and the extension of postpartum coverage for Medicaid and Child Health Plus enrollees.

What Other Laws Should Employers Know About?

Pregnant workers are covered under other federal, state, and local statutes, including those prohibiting discrimination and requiring time off or accommodations for medical conditions. These laws are frequently subject to new regulatory guidance. For example, on April 15, 2024, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its final rule to implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). Under the rule, employers must provide reasonable accommodations for employees with limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions unless the accommodation will cause the employer an undue hardship.

New parents are protected under various statutes as well. The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers (PUMP) Act requires employers to give lactating employees reasonable break time and privacy to pump breast milk in the workplace.

Many workers are also covered under family leave laws that allow parents to take time off from work to care for children. In some cases, as in New York, paid time off may be available. 

Employers should work with an employment lawyer to stay apprised of all laws pertaining to their business. 

Please feel free to contact any of our attorneys if you have questions about New York’s paid leave laws.

NOTICE: Material provided on this website has been prepared by Kauff McGuire & Margolis LLP solely for general informational purposes, and it is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice. Material provided on the website is not privileged and does not create an attorney-client relationship with the Firm or any of its lawyers.