The New York Legislature recently adopted the Paid Family Leave Act (Paid Leave Law), effective January 1, 2018, that will cover leave taken by an employee:
- To care for a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, spouse or domestic partner with a serious health condition;
- To bond with the employee's child for the first 12 months after birth or after placement of a child for adoption or foster care with the employee; or
- For certain reasons arising out of the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child or parent being on active duty (or notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the armed forces of the United States.
In some respects, the New York Paid Leave Law provides for greater coverage than the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
- Only employers with 50 or more employees must comply with the federal FMLA, while employers having as few as one employee must comply with the New York Paid Leave Law.
- The federal FMLA only provides for unpaid leave, while the New York Paid Leave Law provides paid leave. The Paid Leave Law will be fully funded by a payroll deduction from employees’ wages. Employers will not be required to fund paid family leave.
- To be eligible for federal FMLA leave, employees must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and have completed at least 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave. Eligibility under the New York Paid Leave Law requires only that employees have worked for their employer for 26 weeks prior to taking leave.
Anyone who takes leave under the NY Paid Leave Law is entitled, upon return, to be restored by the employer to the same position of employment held by the employee when the leave commenced. In addition, the employer is required to maintain the employee’s existing health benefits for the duration of the leave as if the employee had continued to work during that time.
Employees eligible for coverage under the Paid Leave Law will be allowed to take, during any 52-calendar period, eight weeks of leave during 2018, to increase incrementally to 12 weeks in 2021. The amount that employees will receive for paid leave will start at 50% of the employee's average weekly wage, not to exceed 50% of the state average in 2018, and will grow to 67% of the employee's average weekly wage, not to exceed 67% of the state average in 2021.
New York employers will need to comply with the new Paid Leave Law, including updating employee handbooks, by January 1, 2018. Please contact Amy Varel at 585.512.3519 or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance with compliance with this new law.
This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.
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