On January 1, 2018, the New York State Paid Family Leave Program will go into effect, giving New York the most comprehensive, pro-family paid leave policy in the nation. From 2018 to 2021, the number of weeks workers are permitted to take off to attend to family needs will gradually increase from eight to 12. Other states, such as New Jersey, also have family leave programs in place that exceed the benefits provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Under this program, workers on family leave will receive a portion of their average weekly wage. When the program first goes into effect, this percentage will be 50 percent. By 2021, it will be 67 percent. Participation in the program is mandatory for all private employers. Public sector employers may opt into the program. Failure to allow eligible employees to take this time off will be a violation of employment law.
How Will the New Law Affect Workers Planning their Families?
The new program will not only be for employees having children. Individuals will also be permitted to take time off for adopting or fostering a child, caring for a sick loved one, or attending to military-related family needs, such as caring for children while an enlisted loved one is away or spending time with the enlisted loved one while he or she is home.
Individuals who previously would have had to make careful financial plans before starting families can now rest a bit easier about their economic security following their child’s birth.
Who Will be Covered by this Law?
All employees in New York, regardless of their state of residence, are covered by the law as long as they meet its eligibility criteria. Covered employees must have been employed full-time for at least 26 weeks or part-time for at least 175 days to qualify. It will be available to all workers regardless of their citizenship status or whether they are documented, immigrants.
It is important to note that this program is only available for individuals who are employees of their companies, not those who work as independent contractors. Independent contractors must purchase their own family leave insurance if they intend to take time off for this purpose and receive payment during that time.
The program will be funded 100 percent by payroll deductions. Workers will be permitted to take time off to care for relatives in New York or out of state. It will be available to employees regardless of their gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or other protected class. Spouses who work at separate companies will be permitted to take leave at the same time.
Work with an Experienced New York Employment Attorney
A New York pregnancy discrimination lawyer can explain state and federal pregnancy discrimination laws to you in greater detail along with an explanation of your rights as a victim of this type of behavior. Contact our team at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. to set up your initial consultation with our firm to discuss your case.