Welcome to the family-friendly 21st century, New York!
When the ball dropped in Times Square to usher in the New Year, it also brought in a new state law that makes most of the 6.4 million people who work for private employers in New York state eligible for paid family leave.
Starting in 2018, qualified employees can take up to eight weeks a year of paid leave at half their average weekly wage (up to $652) to:
- bond with and care for a newly born, adopted or fostered child;
- care for a relative with a serious health condition; or
- help loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service.
The amount of time off, which may be taken in full-day increments or all at once, and pay rate climbs to up to 12 weeks and 67% of pay (capped by percentage times the average weekly wage rate in the state).
Those who take advantage of the paid leave law may remain on their company’s health insurance (if you contribute it, you must continue to do so) and are guaranteed to return to the same or a comparable job at their employer once leave ends.
To be eligible for paid family leave, a person must be:
- a full-time employee who works at least 20 hours a week and has been employed by the same company for 26 consecutive weeks; or
- a part-time employee working less than 20 hours a week who has been with same company for 175 days, consecutive or nonconsecutive.
New York is now one of only four states with paid family leave, joining California, Rhode Island and New Jersey. The New Jersey law, in effect since 2009, allows up to six weeks leave at up to two-thirds of a person’s wages, capped at $524 per week.
The United States remains the only developed country without federally mandated paid maternity leave. Family advocates, including NYC Dads Group and our parent City Dads Group, have long called paid family leave important for improving work-life balance for parent and increasing gender equality.
More information on New York state’s paid family leave law, for both employers and employees, is available on the state’s website, NY.gov.
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