If you ever wondered how you would manage if you needed to take time off without pay look no further, New York has joined California, New Jersey and Rhode Island as one of a few states offering Paid Family Leave. Generally, if you have been at your company for at least a year, employees can get 12 work weeks of job protected unpaid leave with medical coverage under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This coverage will allow workers take time off to care for a newborn, a sick family member, take time off for their own serious illness, or any issues arising from a family member on active military duty. But that’s right, it’s unpaid medical leave. I don’t know about you, but how many people can take off for an extended period of time without pay? That’s right -not many.
So what does that mean for New Yorkers who are caregivers? As of January 1st of 2018, as part of the New York State Paid Family Leave Program, New Yorkers can get up to 8 weeks and receive up to 50% of their salary for private sector works to do the following:
- Care for a relative – a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent or grandchild who has a serious health condition
- Maternity and paternity leave -whether you are a parent expecting, fostering or adopting a child
- Relieve those who are on active military duty -a spouse, domestic partner, child or parent or has been notified of an impending call or order of active duty
The program will gradually phase increases up to 67% of pay for up to 12 weeks over the next 4 years through the year 2021.
Eligible workers include full or part-time employees who work 20 or more hours after 26 weeks of employment. So after 6 months you can be eligible! For those working less than 20 hours a week can be eligible after 175 days. To learn more click here.
It’s important to note that Paid Family Medical Leave does not cover prenatal conditions and is only for those caring for a child after the birth during maternity leave. It also cannot be used for one’s own disability or qualifying military event.
Rhode Island, New Jersey and California currently offer Paid Family Leave. To learn more click here. Washington State and Washington, DC is slated to offer Paid Family Leave effective as of the year 2020. According to Catherine Valenti’s ABC News article, “Paid leave bills have also been introduced in at least 24 states and the District of Columbia this year, with Connecticut, Hawaii and Montana passing paid leave bills into law, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families, a New York-based nonprofit organization that promotes policies to help women and men meet the demands of work and family.” If your state is not listed here, keep watch. As more states adopt this legislation and witness its success, more will follow suit.