New York’s Paid Family Leave Benefits Law and Caring for Aging Parents

 

Program Description

New York Governor Cuomo signed the New York Paid Family Leave Benefits Law (PFLBL) into legislation on April 4, 2016. While this law is currently not in effect, it will be carried out in phases, starting the January 1st, 2018. When fully executed, which will be in 2021, the PFLBL will allow employed New Yorkers to take up to 12 weeks paid leave from work annually in order to care for an elderly relative (a parent, parent-in-law, spouse, domestic partner, or grandparent) who has a serious illness. This includes Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias or simply a disability resulting from the natural aging process. One may take the entire paid leave at one time or take it in increments, such as one day per week, year-round.

Currently, there are other options in New York that pay family caregivers.

This paid leave will be financed by deducting a very small percentage of the earnings of New York employees from their paychecks. Payroll deductions are set to begin in approximately July of 2017.

**This page will be updated as more information becomes available.**

 New York’s Paid Family Leave should not be confused with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Under the FMLA, employees are guaranteed their right to return to their position after taking time off to care for a loved one but they do not receive compensation.  
 

 

Eligibility Guidelines

In order to be eligible for New York’s Family Paid Leave, one will have to be employed by their current employer full time for 26 weeks or on a part time basis for 175 days. The number of hours an employee has been working will not be a factor in eligibility. Nearly all individuals who work for a private employer will be covered under this program, while public employers currently have the option to opt out of this program. It’s important to note, an employee on full disability benefits will not be able to receive a paid family leave.

The person taking leave must be related to the individual in need of care. The individual in need of care must either be a parent, parent-in-law, spouse, domestic partner, or a grandparent.

 

Benefits and Services

This program, which will allow up to 12 weeks (when fully enacted) of paid leave from work to care for a senior relative, will come in phases over 4 years, starting January, 1, 2018, with the plan to be fully enacted in 2021. The senior who is in need of care does not have to be a New York resident. 

  • January 1st, 2018, the paid leave is set to be at 50% of the amount an eligible employee makes in an average week (with the maximum amount set at 50% of the average rate that is earned across the state). Maximum paid time off will be 8 weeks in a 52-week period. 
  • January 1st, 2019, the paid leave is set to be at 55% of the amount an eligible employee makes in an average week (with the maximum amount set at 55% of the average rate that is earned across the state). Maximum paid time off will be 10 weeks in a 52-week period. 
  • January 1st, 2020, the paid leave is set to be at 60% of the amount an eligible employee makes in an average week (with the maximum amount set at 60% of the average rate that is earned across the state). Maximum paid time off will be 10 weeks in a 52-week period. 
  • January 1st, 2021, this paid leave is set to be at 67% of the amount an eligible employee makes in an average week (with the maximum amount set at 67% of the average rate that is earned across the state). Maximum paid time off will be 12 weeks in a 52-week period.

An employee that has taken a paid family leave will not receive any type of type of penalty from their employer. In fact, the employee must be allowed to return to the position they had held at the time of the leave or given a position that is similar in nature to the one they had. The employee will also continue to receive health insurance while on leave.

 

How to Apply / Learn More

The New York Paid Family Leave Law is not currently in effect. It is set to roll out in phases beginning January 1, 2018. However, when it is in effect, one will need to provide a medical certificate to their employer that has been filled out by the physician or health care provider of the senior in need of care.

 For further information about this new law, visit the state webpage here.