Bank of America expands paid-leave benefit

While the state was working on a provision for 12 weeks of family leave, Bank of America announced t

As the debate continues over whether to mandate paid family leave in New York, one company that already provides that benefit is expanding it further.

Bank of America announced this week that employees who have worked for it for more than a year will be eligible for 16 weeks of paid time off when they or a partner or spouse give birth to or adopt a child.

Previously, BOA employees were eligible for 12 weeks, the same period of time called for under legislation pushed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as part of the New York state budget talks. Caring for a sick relative would also qualify for paid leave under the state measure.

The governor and lawmakers reached agreement on a budget Thursday night and it included a measure to eventually provide the 12 weeks’ family leave.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based BOA has about 4,700 branches nationwide and maintains a significant presence in the Capital Region: 35 bank branches, seven Merrill Lynch offices, one U.S. Trust office and a regional administrative office at which a total of more than 650 people work.

As it boosted the paid parental leave from 12 to 16 weeks, BOA cut the unpaid leave from 14 to 10 weeks, so the maximum total leave time remains 26 weeks. BOA said more than 8,000 employees took advantage of the benefit in 2015.

The company also provides up to $8,000 to employees to cover certain adoption expenses and up to $240 a month for childcare expenses.

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