As of October 29, 2010, New York employers that provide employees with funeral or bereavement leave for the death of an employee's spouse or the spouse's child, parent or other relative must now extend that same leave to the employee's same-sex committed partner and the child, parent or other relative of the same-sex committed partner. The New York Civil Rights Law now prohibits an employer from differentiating between a spouse and a same-sex committed partner when it comes to the entitlement to bereavement leave. Under the law, "same-sex committed partners" are defined as "those who are financially and emotionally interdependent in a manner commonly presumed of spouses."
New York employers who have such funeral or bereavement leave policies should revise those policies to ensure they include same-sex committed partners. Employers who do not provide their employees with bereavement or funeral leave for the death of a spouse or the spouse’s child, parent or other relative have no additional obligations under the New York Civil Rights Law.