The New York legislature recently passed a bipartisan bill that would provide workers with up to three months of paid leave to mourn the loss of a loved one.
The sponsor of the bill is a Republican senator from upstate New York named Richard Funke, who says the legislation was inspired by the experience of losing his son.
“I’ve experienced the pain of losing a child. The grief can be unpredictable and overwhelming,” Funke said in a statement, according to CBS. “No employee should have to fear losing their job in order to take the time they need to mourn.”
But during a Tuesday morning segment, Fox Business hosts mocked Funke’s legislation, dismissing it as “anti-business” and suggesting the idea someone would miss several months of work because one of their spouse’s parents died is absurd.
“Can you imagine how anti-business New York state really is, when a proposal like this is about to reach the desk of Gov. Cuomo?” Stuart Varney said. “Can you imagine how strapped some small businesses would be if you have 3, 4, 5 employees and one of them is out for three months and you have to pay them because their mother-in-law died? It just stinks to high heaven as to how anti-business New York state has become.”
“Would you start a business in New York state these days? No,” Varney added. “I’d go to Texas, and so would everybody else.”
“That is crazy, Stuart,” Maria Bartiromo chimed in. “I mean — three months?… Grieving a mother-in-law or father-in-law?”
“I am not being insensitive, but it is freakin’ ridiculous!” Varney added.
New York’s bill is not unprecedented — Oregon has offered paid bereavement leave since 2014. A spokesperson for Cuomo told CBS that the governor will review the legislation before making a decision about whether to sign the bill into law.
If approved, the legislation would allow workers to collect up to $680 a week while on bereavement leave. According to CBS, the bill covers the death of a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, in-law, grandparent, or grandchild.