The New York State Assembly didn’t take long to pass a 12-week paid family leave bill, just a few weeks after Governor Andrew Cuomo called for employers to give workers the benefit in his State of the State and budget address.  The bill, A3870, provides that covered employees would be paid two-thirds of their average weekly wage up to a maximum benefit level of 35% of the statewide average wage in 2017 (40% in 2018 and 50% beginning in April, 2019).   This is the third consecutive session in which the democrat-controlled Assembly has passed a mandatory paid leave bill.  The state senate, with a republican majority, has yet to pass any of the paid family leave initiatives.  Also in New York, the state’s new gender equality rules became effective on January 19.  The new rules, intended to end discrimination against women in the workplace, are expected to increase the number of lawsuits brought against employers and will likely result in significantly higher settlements.  Formerly, awards for lost wages were capped at the amount of wages, but under the new rules, awards may include disputed wages, treble damages and attorney’s fees.