Does New York Law Cover Maternity Or Bonding Time Leave?
Having a baby is a joyous event for many people, but for some, it can create logistical issues. A common concern for people who are about to deliver is whether or not they can take leave from their job to do so. The United States does not offer paid maternity leave nationally, but several states – New York included – have provisions for expectant parents that helps them be assured of keeping their job. Failure to abide by these laws is actionable.
State vs Federal
There are two major laws under which one might apply for family leave. The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows a person to apply for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, while New York’s Paid Family Leave policy offers the same amount of leave, but with up to 67 percent of one’s salary during that period. These laws do overlap, though they are not identical; the form of maternity leave offered by New York law is more flexible than the FMLA’s.
Both laws grant maternity leave, but New York grants it more expansively, assuming your employer’s insurer consents. Both NYPFL and the FMLA grant maternity leave treating pregnancy as a temporary disability; however, leave granted after the child is born, referred to as bonding time leave, is more firmly codified in state and federal law as its own separate entity. In other words, if you apply for maternity leave before your child is born, you must apply under the premise of having a “serious health condition;” if you apply after the birth, you can simply request it as bonding time.
If You Are Denied
If you apply under New York’s paid family leave policy and are denied, you may seek a review of the case, but it must be done via arbitration, rather than filing suit in court. Arbitration is when a disagreement is presented to an unbiased third person (an ‘arbitrator’), whose decision is binding and both parties consent ahead of time to abide by the arbitrator’s judgment. This can be intimidating without legal assistance, as without a knowledge of how arbitration works, one can get overwhelmed very easily. Denial of an FMLA request can be challenged via lawsuit, but not a PFL request in New York.
That said, it is important to be aware that not every application for paid family leave will be granted, even if your application is assessed properly. New York’s law grants the ability to approve or deny these requests to your employer’s insurer, while the FMLA has specific qualifications that the applicant must meet before leave will be granted, and many simply do not meet them. However, if you do meet qualifications and you are denied, it is crucial that you know your options, lest you lose bonding time with your newborn baby.
Contact A New York Employment Lawyer
While the birth of a child is usually a happy time, that joy can be somewhat overshadowed if you are unsure about the status of your job and salary. If you have questions about taking family leave, calling a New York City employment discrimination lawyer from Mansell Law, LLC may help to get them answered. Call our offices today at 646-921-8900 for a free consultation.