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New York’s Paid Family Leave Benefits Law (PFLBL) came into effect January 1st, 2018. It will be carried out in phases, and will be fully executed in 2021. The PFLBL allows 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.
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.
This paid leave is financed by deducting a very small percentage of the earnings of New York employees from their paychecks. Payroll deductions began July of 2017.
In order to be eligible for New York’s Family Paid Leave, one must have been 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 are covered under 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. The person who is in need of care does not have to be a New York resident, but the individual taking leave must be.
This program allows 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.
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.
To apply, the first step is to notify one’s employer of their intention to take leave at least 30 days in advance of doing. One is required to submit paperwork as well as supporting documentation of the need for care and their relationship to the care recipient. Complete details of the application process can be found here.
For further information about this new law, visit the state webpage here.