This bill proposes to expand eligibility for Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits to workers in certain construction related industries. This bill is unnecessary as individuals working intermittently as described in the bill would, in almost every case, qualify for benefits under existing law.
First, the bill proposes that individuals covered by a collective bargaining agreement be provided benefits as described in the law. This requirement already exists. Section 380-2.9 of the Workers’ Compensation law already requires:
380-2.9 Employees subject to collective bargaining agreements
Covered employers with employees or a class or classes of employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement shall not be required to supply such employees with paid family leave coverage when the collective bargaining agreement (i) provides paid family leave benefits at least as favorable as set forth in subdivision (e) of section 358-3.1.
If the collective bargaining contract provide suitable coverage, then the employee would be covered. Should the collective bargaining agreement not address PFL or fails to provide benefits ‘at least at favorable,’ then the worker is covered by other provisions of the act.
Secondly, current Workers’ Compensation law specifically addresses the unique employment relationships in certain industries and allows for interruption in the 26-week eligibility requirement:
a. An employee of a covered employer whose regular employment schedule is 20 or more hours per week will become eligible to take family leave during his or her employment with such employer, provided the employee has been either:
- In employment, as defined in this Title, of the covered employer for at least 26 consecutive work weeks preceding the first full day family leave begins; or
- In employment, as defined in this Title, of the covered employer during the work period usual to and available during the entirety of such 26 consecutive weeks preceding the first full day the leave begins in any trade or business in which he or she is regularly employed and in which hiring from day to day of such employees is the usual employment practice; or
- In employment, as defined in this Title, of the covered employer for at least 26 consecutive weeks, such consecutive weeks may be tolled during periods of absence that are due to the nature of that employment, such as semester breaks, and when employment is not terminated during those periods of absence.
These provisions anticipated the sporadic employment nature of those in certain industries – like those enumerated in the bill – and provided relief from having to restart the 26-week (or 175 day for part-time employees) eligibility period.
For these reasons, The Business Council, on behalf of its 2,400 members, opposes this bill.