Effective February 3, 2019, New York employees can take paid family leave to care for a family member who’s preparing for or recovering from surgery related to organ or tissue donation. This change results from the Living Donor Protection Act of 2018 that Governor Cuomo signed into law on November 5, 2018.

While employees already were permitted to take paid leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition, the new law specifically amends the definition of a “serious health condition” to include preparation for and recovery from surgery related to organ and tissue donation. The purpose of the change is to ensure those who donate can be cared for by their eligible family members.

For employers subject to the federal Family & Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) this change shouldn’t come as a surprise. The federal Department of Labor issued guidance last summer advising that organ donation surgery can qualify as a serious health condition under the FMLA if it involves either inpatient care or continuing treatment. This is true even when the surgery is voluntary.

If you’re an employer looking for guidance on FMLA or New York’s Paid Family Leave Law, contact The Coppola Firm. We’d be delighted to assist you.