Mandated Paid Time-Off for Employee Cancer Screenings

New York Civil Service Law Sections 159-b and 159-c require that public-sector employees receive up to four (4) hours of paid leave per year to undertake a screening for breast cancer, and up to four (4) hours of paid leave per year to undertake a screening for prostate cancer.  This leave time is taken without any deduction by the employer to the employee’s respective sick, personal, or vacation leave accruals. 

On December 18, 2017, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that amends Civil Service Law Section 159-b, and completely repeals Civil Service Law Section 159-c, which became redundant because of the amendment to Section 159-b.  The amendment to Civil Service Law 159-b broadens the scope of the law to provide for “up to” four (4) hours of paid leave per year for any cancer screening, including prostate cancer screening.  [Emphasis added]  This leave for any cancer screening is still available without any deduction by the employer to the sick, personal, or vacation leave accruals of the employee.   

The leave under this provision is to be treated the same as it has been previously treated, with the exception that employees now have the ability to take leave for any type of cancer screening, not just breast cancer or prostate cancer.  Thus, whatever applicable screening procedure is required for that particular type of cancer, is covered.  Further, as before, employers may request the employee provide a note from their physician or health care provider indicating the date and time the employee was screened for a type of cancer.

This provision became effective March 18, 2018, and municipalities should review their policies (and labor contract language, to the extent contracts contain provisions regarding leave for screenings) to ensure that moving forward, an employee may take “up to” four (4) hours of paid leave per year to be screened for any type of cancer, without any deduction to their sick, personal, or vacation leave. 

Honeywell Law Firm, PLLC is available to assist with any policy review or employee issues that arise with respect to this change in the law. Please feel free to contact us at (518) 512-4580 or info@honeywelllawfirm.com

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