NEW YORK — The New Year is here, and so is a new family leave law.
Starting Jan. 1, about 6.4 million employees working for private companies in New York State will be eligible for Paid Family Leave. For those working for public companies, the employer can choose to offer Paid Family Leave.
New York joined California, New Jersey and Rhode Island in requiring employers to give workers paid time off for family situations, which include:
- Parents during the first year of a birth, adoption, or fostering of a child
- Caretakers for a sick family member with a serious illness
- Those with a family member who is or will be deployed on active military service
In 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Paid Family Leave policy into law, ensuring working families won’t have to choose between caring for loved ones and risking their jobs.
“Life is those special moments. Life is when your child is born, or a family member’s child is born. Life is being there when somebody is sick. Life is being there was somebody is passing and you want to be able to spend time and say thank you, and come to peace and come to terms. Those are the moments that make up life. Everything else is noise. You don’t even remember at the end of the day where it all went. Life is those moments. Everybody should have the right to live those moments,” Cuomo said during the launch of programs for the middle class Sunday.
In 2018, employees may take up to eight weeks of paid leave and receive 50 percent of their average weekly wage, up to a cap weekly cap of $652, which is half of the New York State average weekly wage.
New Yorkers can take up to 12 weeks of paid time off when the law is fully phased in, the policy says.
All eligible employees can participate, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.
Full-time employees who work a regular work schedule of 20 or more hours per week are eligible after 26 consecutive weeks of employment. Part-time employees who work a regular work schedule of less than 20 hours per week are eligible after working 175 days, which do not need to be consecutive.
According to the policy, you can continue your health insurance while on leave and are guaranteed the same or a comparable job after your leave ends. If you contribute to the cost of your health insurance, you must continue to pay your portion of the premium cost while on leave. The leave can be taken either all at once or in full-day increments.
The Paid Family Leave policy will be phased in over four years, expected to be complete in 2021.
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Associated Press contributed to this report.