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New York Paid Family Leave…Finally!

Until recently, individuals in the workforce in the State of New York had to choose between caring for family members – such as new babies and elderly parents – and not getting paid.  But not anymore.  In April 2016, Governor Cuomo signed into law a bill that makes New York the fourth state in the country to guarantee paid family leave to bond with a new child or care for an ill family member.

The New York Paid Family Leave Law (the “Law”) becomes effective in 2018 and initially provides eight weeks at 50% of the employee’s weekly wage.  This will increase to twelve weeks and 67% of the employee’s weekly wage by 2021.  This Law guarantees that you will receive a pay check and still have a job upon your return.  The leave can be used to care for a family member with a serious illness; bond with a new baby (including through foster or adoptive placement); or address family needs due to the active military duty of a close family member.  Family member is defined broadly.

Both full-time and part-time workers will be eligible for leave under the Law once they have been employed for more than six months. All employers are required to comply with this Law upon written notice and medical certification from an employee.

Paid leave under the Law will be funded by small payroll deductions from all employees.  The actual amount to be deducted will be determined in June of this year, but the currently estimate for cost to employees is approximately $1 per week.

This new law is the most comprehensive of its type in the nation.  Below is a chart demonstrating how the law will be phased in from 2018 through 2021.

 

Effective date

Number of weeks of leave permitted in a 52 week calendar period Amount of paid leave
January 1, 2018 8 weeks 50% of the employee’s weekly pay, capped at 50% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage.
January 1, 2019 10 weeks 55% of the employee’s weekly pay, capped at 55% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage.
January 1, 2020 10 weeks 60% of the employee’s weekly pay, capped at 60% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage.
January 1, 2021 12 weeks 67% of the employee’s weekly pay, capped at 67% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage.

Kelly A. Pressler is an associate and practices General Civil Litigation and Municipal Litigation.  She can be reached by phone at 866-303-9595 toll free or 845-764-9565 and by email.

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