What New Yorkers Need to Know About the New Paid Family Leave Act

Most New Yorkers are aware of the recent updates to the state human rights laws which provide paid family leave for eligible workers. Fortunately, New York has taken a nationwide leadership role in securing fair and adequate compensation for workers in need of paid maternity leave or medical leave — a measure which has historically been ignored within the legislative landscape. The following details the law — which is scheduled to roll out fully by 2018.

In addition, employers within the city of New York are also strongly advised to become familiar with the specific guidelines on medical leave, as wrongfully withholding paid time off could result in costly and unnecessary litigation.

First, much of the paid leave is funded through a deduction from the employee’s pay, and employees are not eligible for paid medical leave until they have worked at least six months for the organization. Beginning in 2018, workers can access 50% of their average weekly wage, up to 50% of the statewide average weekly wage amount. By 2021, however, this amount will be increased to 67%, where it will remain indefinitely.

Once fully phased-in, employees will have access to these benefits for up to 12 weeks, which can be used to:

  • Care for a biological or adopted infant;
  • Care for a sick family member;
  • Relieve family pressures when one member is called to active duty military service.

Alarmingly, the United States remains one of just three nations that does not maintain a national paid time off policy. With the implementation of this law, families can engage in full-time care of a relative or newborn, without substantially depleting their life savings to do so.

If you are an employer or employee with questions about the rollout of New York’s paid family leave laws, please do not hesitate to contact Thomas M. Lancia, PLLC.