Understanding Paid Family Leave - August 2019

The State of New York has one of the strongest paid family leave policies in the nation, which means that employees get to take advantage of both federal protections as well as increased state-level policies. These protections ensure workers have the flexibility they need to take care of their families and loved ones without having to worry about their jobs or income while they are away from work.

What Is Paid Family Leave?

Paid family leave can be a wonderful time where you can recover from giving birth and learn to respond to your baby's every cry. While most people think of taking family leave after pregnancy, there are many other reasons people can take advantage of paid family leave.

Adopted and foster children also need bonding time which employees are granted under paid family leave. Choosing to open your home to a new child is a time-consuming process and parents need to be available to meet the child's initial needs and help that child settle into his or her new situation.

Taking time to take care of a family member with a serious health condition is another common reason to take paid leave. When a close family member is deployed on active military service, paid family leave can give you time to assist those who remain behind.

Who Is Entitled to Paid Leave?

In New York, private employers with one or more employees are required to obtain Paid Family Leave insurance. For full time workers, this means that after 26 consecutive weeks of employment, you are eligible for paid family leave. You can take this leave all at once, or spread it out in full day increments over the year.

If you are a part time worker, you are eligible for paid leave after you have worked 175 days for an employer. A part time employee is someone who works for a business less than 20 hours per week. Your 175 days of employment do not have to be consecutive days worked.

Watch out! You can choose to waive this right when you are first employed, so first you want to make sure you didn't do so. Some people choose to waive their right just to avoid the payroll deduction that pays for the leave, but then they are missing out on an important benefit that helps them, or ones they love, in the future.

Your employer is responsible for ensuring you are aware of the NY State leave policies, collecting payroll contributions from your income, and helping you complete any necessary forms when you need to take time off for an eligible purpose. You are generally required to give 30days notice of when you expect to take leave. But, if that is not possible, let your employer know as soon as possible of your plans to take paid family leave. You want to do a good job communicating with your employer about when you plan to take leave and when you plan to return. They will have to make sure your work is there for you when you are ready to come back.

What Benefits Come With Paid Leave?

While it is called paid family leave, do not expect to receive your full salary. In 2019, paid family leave includes ten weeks of paid leave, but at 55% of your average weekly wage. This average is calculated based on the last eight weeks that you worked. This means that over a 52-week period, you can take up to ten weeks of paid leave. Further, over the next several years, the percentage of your income, and the number of weeks available, is scheduled to increase.

Once your period of paid leave is over, you're entitled to return to your job, to either the same job or a comparable position. Your health insurance will continue while you're on leave and you'll owe the same amount for any contributions your generally make for health insurance. Finally, your employer cannot retaliate against you for taking paid family leave.

If you think you are facing discrimination for your decision to care for your family, or you feel that your supervisor is retaliating against your for your time off, reach out to our team of experience New York employment lawyers. When you hire Phillips & Associates, you can be confident that your rights are going to be protected just as aggressively as your employer protects the business. For a free consultation, call the attorneys at Phillips & Associates today at (866) 229-9441.

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