New York’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) came into effect in January of 2018. PFL currently 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.
In order to be eligible for New York’s Paid Family Leave, one must have been employed by their current employer full time (a minimum of 20 hours / week) for 26 weeks or on a part time basis (less than 20 hours / week) for 175 days. Nearly all individuals who work for a private employer are covered under this program. It’s important to note that an employee on full disability benefits will not be able to receive 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 of paid leave from work to care for a senior relative.
As of 2023, the paid leave is set 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). The maximum benefit amount is $1,131.08 / week, and maximum paid time off is 12 weeks in a 52-week period.
An employee that has taken Paid Family Leave will not receive any type of penalty from their employer. In fact, the employee must be allowed to return to the position they 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 so. 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 Paid Family Leave, visit the state webpage here.