New York to Implement Nation’s Most Comprehensive Paid Family Leave Program
Private employers in the state of New York will soon be required to provide up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. The new law will apply to all employees of employers covered by the state’s worker’s compensation law and will be completely employee-funded via payroll deductions. Public employers are permitted to participate by opting-in to the program.
These types of “paid family leave” laws continue to gain momentum. Three other states (California, New Jersey and Rhode Island) provide workers with partial pay during parental leave. Some cities have even joined in on the trend. San Francisco passed a paid family leave program in 2016, and Washington, D.C. also recently approved one that will take effect in 2020.
New York lawmakers championed this law as a pivotal step in the pursuit of equality and dignity in both the workplace and home. “New York enacted the strongest paid family leave plan in the nation to ensure that no one has to choose between losing a job and missing the birth of a child, or being able to spend time with a loved one in their final days,” said New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, upon passage of the law.
The New York legislation originally passed in April of 2016, but the obligations for employers and employees were announced just recently.
Beginning January 1, 2018, the state’s paid family leave program will provide employees with employment protection and partial wage replacement if they spend time away from work to:
- bond with a child (including fostering or adopting)
- help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service
- care for a close relative with a serious health condition
A “close relative” as defined under the law includes a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent (including in-law), grandparent and grandchild. An employee must be employed full-time for 26 weeks, or part-time for 175 days to be eligible for a paid family leave benefit. An employer may permit an employee to use vacation or sick leave while on leave, but may not require its use.
The complete 12-week benefit will not be implemented fully until 2021. The amount of paid family leave and the percentage of the employee’s salary paid will be realized over four years:
|Max % of
|Cap % of State
Average Weekly Wage
Employers will be required to purchase a paid family leave insurance policy or self-insure. The employee will pay the premiums of the policy via payroll deductions, beginning July 1, 2017.
For more information about the phase-in process, calculation of the Average Weekly Wage, or general information on the program, visit the New York paid family leave website.
Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal issues problems.
Tags: Jason Hines, New York, Paid Family Leave Program, paid family leave; Paid Leave, private employers
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