Business owners concerned over family leave proposal

August 09, 2018 07:46 AM

A measure could give workers across New York State up to 12 weeks off when a close family member dies.

Some small business owners don't like it. Workers would collect up to two-thirds of their salary under the Family Medical Leave Act.


The New York State Small Business Council is asking the governor to say "no" when the measure comes across his desk. 

"If one of the 20 guys out on the floor is out that's five percent. Somebody's got to pick up that slack," said John Raimondi, who owns Nifty Bar.

Highly skilled workers prepare metal parts for a host of industries like food service, construction, automotive and healthcare. When one worker is out, it requires him to reassign everyone to cover the work. 

"There's going to be a shortfall, there's no question about it and it puts a burden on everybody else in the organization."

The state bereavement bill passed in June and awaits the governor's signature.

State Senator Rich Funke and Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle co-sponsored the bill.

Both lost children.

It would give every worker in New York State the option of taking up to 12 weeks of paid leave after the death of a close family member.

"When I lost my son, I came back to work right away and about a month later, I found I was crushed with grief. I could have used a few days off everyone's different. Not everybody is the same when it comes to grieving. That's why I think this flexibility is important," said Funke.

This is an additional 12 weeks, not the two days of leave Raimondi's company currently offers for bereavement.

He admits it's not enough, but he says it would be a hardship to have any of his 25 workers gone for 12 weeks.

Funke says FMLA is an insurance policy that is paid for by every New York worker.

"If you have the wherewithal to take time off and get half your salary then that's a decision that you have to make. I doubt very much that anybody's going to do that and I doubt that anybody's going to take a full 12 weeks. But we wanted to provide the flexibility for people,' Funke said.

The bill has not been signed by the governor so, there is still time to amend it and make changes.

If it is approved by the governor it would become law in 2022.


Lynette Adams

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