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April 29, 2016

New York State Enacts Paid Family Leave Act

New York State recently enacted the most progressive Paid Family Leave Act in the Country, affecting virtually all private-sector employers in New York State.

Under New York’s Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) Act, beginning on January 1, 2018, private-sector employees who have worked for their employer for at least 6 consecutive months will be entitled to take up to 12 weeks of paid, job-protected family leave: (1) to bond with the employee’s newborn child or adopted or foster child during the first 12 months after birth or placement with the employee; (2) to “participate in providing care” for a family member (a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, spouse, or domestic partner) with a serious health condition; or (3) because of a qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent is on active military duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty).

The amount of leave and pay under the Act will be phased in beginning in 2018 through 2021, providing eligible employees with up to 8 weeks of paid, job-protected family leave at 50% of their average weekly wage (capped at 50% of the statewide average weekly wage) in 2018 and up to 12 weeks of paid, job-protected family leave at 67% of their average weekly wage (capped at 67% of the statewide average weekly wage) by 2021. The paid leave will be financed solely through employee payroll deductions.

Employees who avail themselves of PFL, will be entitled to return to the same position they held when the leave began or to a comparable position with comparable employment benefits, pay and other terms and conditions of employment.

New York employers should review and revise their current leave policies or implement new leave policies to account for this new law.

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