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New York State Expands Paid Leave for Cancer Screenings of Public Employees

On December 18, 2017, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law an amendment of Section 159-b of the state Civil Service Law. The amendment entitles any public employee the right to paid, excused leave of absence from his or her duties for a sufficient period of time, not to exceed four hours, to undertake a screening for cancer of any kind.  The law had previously provided leave for public employees for only breast and prostate cancer screenings.

A “public employee” is described as a public officer, employee of New York State or any county within the State, employee of any community college, public authority, public benefit corporation, board of cooperative educational services (BOCES), vocational education and extension board, municipality, school district or any employee of a participating employer in the New York state and local employees’ retirement system or in the New York state teachers’ retirement system.

Employers of public employees will need to begin complying with the law when it takes effect on March 18, 2018. The law’s purpose is to encourage regular screening for all types of cancers to increase the number of cancers caught early, thereby improving public health.  Employers should note this leave cannot be charged against any other leave to which the public employee is otherwise entitled.  An employer may, however, require all employees taking such leave to provide a doctor’s note to verify the screening.

Employers of public employees in the state should mark their calendars for March 18 and revise their workplace policies in accordance with the new law.

Brody and Associates regularly provides counsel on New York leave laws, the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), as well as employment law issues in general. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.454.0560.