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November 20, 2023 | EmploymentNew York

Financing Families: New York State Paid Family Leave

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Author(s)
Jari Wilson

Associate Attorney

 

New York first began the New York State Paid Family Leave program in 2018.  Since then, the Paid Family Leave program has expanded and allowed many employees to spend more quality time with their loved ones. This program provides paid leave for New Yorkers who are caring for a newborn child, supporting a close relative facing a serious health condition, or assisting family members when a loved one is deployed abroad for military service.

It is important for New York employers to stay informed on the latest requirements of the Paid Family Leave program because the program is frequently updated.  Here is what you need to know about what the program currently mandates and what changes are coming next.

When Can an Employee Take Advantage of the New York State Paid Family Leave Program?

The Paid Family Leave program offers job-protected, paid time off for employees who are:

  • Bonding with a newborn. The newborn may be a biological, adopted, or fostered child of the employee,
  • Caring for a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, with a serious health condition, or
  • Assisting loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad for active military service.

When the program officially started on January 1, 2018, employees could be granted up to 8 weeks of paid leave at half of their weekly pay, with a cap set at $652.96 per week.  However, now, employees are entitled to 12 weeks of leave at 67% of their pay.  The new maximum weekly benefit employees can receive in 2024 is $1,151.16.

So, Who Qualifies for Paid Family Leave?

New York employees who have been employed by their current employer for at least six months will qualify for the New York State Paid Family Leave Program.  Most employees working for a private employer are eligible for Paid Family Leave.  Public employers have the option to offer this paid time off.

Employees become eligible and may take Paid Family Leave when they have met the following minimum time-worked requirements:

  • Full-time employees with a work schedule of 20 or more hours per week can qualify after 26 consecutive weeks of employment.
  • Part-time employees with a work schedule of fewer than 20 hours per week are eligible after 175 days of employment. These days do not need to be consecutive.

Employees’ citizenship or immigration status does not affect their eligibility.

Tips for Employers

Employers must obtain Paid Family Leave insurance.  The insurance carriers will process Paid Family Leave requests made by employees, so it is crucial for employers to coordinate with their carriers in a timely manner.  Similarly, employers must also cover Paid Family Leave benefits through payroll deductions.

Employers should also note that Paid Family Leave ensures that employees have the right to return to their job and continue with their health insurance upon their return.

Keeping pace with these changes can be challenging.  Nevertheless, being prepared will not only make you a better business owner but also keep you informed about what your staff and team are entitled to in the long run.

Conclusion

Whether you are a New York employer or employee, it is important understand the New York State Paid Family Leave Program.  Employers have certain responsibilities that can change as the program expands and employees should pay attention to their rights as they grow under the Paid Family Leave program.  To understand your rights and responsibilities under the New York State Paid Family Leave Program, contact an experienced attorney.

 

Photo by Getty Images on Unsplash

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