Paid family leave is coming to New York in January 2018. This is significant, since there is no paid leave at the federal level. The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) provides only for unpaid leave and applies to a limited number of employees: those who work for public or larger (50 or more employees) employers. The New York law will apply to significantly more private workers – applying to employers with two (2) or more employees as well as to full and part-time workers. Public employers may opt into the program or participation can be included as part of collective bargaining for those covered by union contracts.
In New York, family leave applies to taking time off to care for a child after birth, adoption or fostering; caring for family members with serious health conditions; and those affected by a close family member's active military deployment. Full time employees who have worked for 26 consecutive weeks will be eligible for leave upon a qualifying event. Implementation will be gradual with employees receiving 50% pay over 8 weeks in 2018; 55% pay for 10 weeks in 2019; 60% pay for 10 weeks in 2020; and leading to 67% pay in 2021 for 12 weeks. The program will be funded by a deduction from employee paychecks and is not intended to place a financial burden on employers.