Skip to main content

Governor Hochul Floats Groundbreaking Pregnancy and Disability Leave Protections for New York Employees

Hoping to “raise the bar” for the rest of the nation, Governor Hochul announced a first of its kind proposal that would allow qualifying workers in New York up to 40 hours of paid leave to attend prenatal appointments. While the state currently provides benefits beginning a month before a birth, the proposed plan would offer prenatal care as a separate qualifying event to ensure pregnant workers can meet their medical needs throughout their pregnancy. 

This potentially groundbreaking effort is just one of many proposals Governor Hochul has floated in the new legislative session to better support pregnant workers and newborns across the state (including beyond the employment context), largely in response to rising infant and maternal mortality rates. Governor Hochul has also proposed providing funding for free portable cribs for economically disadvantaged New Yorkers, cutting co-pays for pregnancy care, training suicide counselors and medical professionals on maternal health and postpartum depression and anxiety, as well as a potential state initiative to reduce the rate of unnecessary cesarean sections.

In a similar vein, Governor Hochul also proposed an increase in disability leave benefits for the first time in 35 years.  The new proposal envisions amendments to the State’s disability benefits law that would provide for weekly benefit amounts more closely mirroring the benefits to which workers are entitled under the State’s family leave law – a significant increase under the law’s current $170 benefit ceiling.  In her proposal, Governor Hochul specifically cited the 33% of New York medical leave claims that are related to pregnancy-related disabilities and the 20% of New Yorkers who have a disability.

Each proposal is in the early stages, and we’ll keep you posted with additional details as they emerge and update this post accordingly. 

Subscribe To Viewpoints


Michael S. Arnold

Member / Chair, Employment Practice

Michael Arnold is Chair of the firm's Employment Practice. He is an employment lawyer who deftly handles a wide array of matters.
Talia R. Weseley is an Associate at Mintz who represents and counsels clients on various employment matters before federal and state courts and administrative agencies. Her practice covers a wide array of employment matters, including employee handbooks and company policies, employment and separation agreements, restrictive covenant issues, leaves and accommodations, and discrimination, harassment, and retaliation investigations and litigation.