You may have heard about the New York Paid Family Leave legislation that recently passed. The new law will go into effect on January 1, 2018. Many caregivers have questions about the new law and what it can mean for their family.  Let’s start with the basics:

What is the New York Paid Family Leave Law?

New York Paid Family Leave is job-protected, paid time away from work mandated by New York State. That means eligible employees may take New York Paid Family Leave:

  • to care for a seriously ill family member;
  • to bond with a newborn, adopted, or foster child;
  • or to attend to family issues related to a qualifying military deployment.

Who is eligible?

Every employee working full time (20 or more hours per week) in the State of New York is eligible for coverage after 26 weeks of consecutive employment. Part-time employees are eligible after 175 days of employment. Every employer is required to comply.

What is the benefit?

The New York Paid Family Leave benefit for 2018 is set as follows:

  • 50% of your average weekly wage, not to exceed 50% of the New York State average weekly wage, for a maximum of 8 weeks. Currently, the statewide average weekly wage is $1,306.00.

The benefit is set to increase each year for the following three years, as follows:

  • Year 2019:  55% of average weekly wage for a maximum of 10 weeks
  • Year 2020:  60% of average weekly wage for a maximum of 10 weeks
  • Year 2021:  67% of average weekly wage for a maximum of 12 weeks

Who pays for the program?

The state has mandated that all employees will pay for the new coverage through payroll deduction at a rate of 0.126% of your weekly wages, not to exceed the statewide average weekly wage. At the present time, the statewide average weekly wage is $1,306.00, which means your deduction will not exceed $1.65 per week.  Payroll deductions will begin with the first payroll in 2018.

Because the new law shares many of the same requirements and definitions as the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), in most cases the two leave of absence programs will be applied at the same time, NOT one after the other.

The New York Paid Family Leave will never intersect with New York State mandated disability benefits, which provide a benefit when you need to miss work because of your own disabling illness or injury. The New York Paid Family Leave only comes into play when you need to miss work to care for someone else, such as an elderly parent or loved one.

If you have any questions about the above information, or wish to speak to an attorney, please contact Pfalzgraf, Beinhauer & Menzies, LLP at (716) 204-1055. Pfalzgraf, Beinhauer & Menzies, LLP has offices located at 455 Cayuga Road, Suite 600, Buffalo, New York 14225.