The newly enacted State paid family leave policy in New York sounds like a relief to the state residents, as they join other states to expand the benefits of employees established by the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act. While this looks great, it’s also important to note that the law has its limits: employer’s policies are also important as you plan to take parental leave.
Let’s look the most important things you should know about the law.
1. $6525.96 per week is the maximum payout
The New York State Average Weekly Wage which is reviewed every year for inflation is a marker in the family leave benefits. 50% of your average weekly wage is what the law pays out, and for now up to 50% of the average weekly wage in the state, though this is expected to reach up to 67% in 2021. The current maximum payout for family benefits for this year is $652.96 per week derived from the State’s average weekly wage for the year: $2,000.
2. The benefits have a maximum duration of 8 weeks
The benefits which increase over the next four years start small with a time limitation. For this year, 2018, employees are eligible for paid leave benefits within 8 weeks (maximum). The duration is expected to increase from the following year; employees would be eligible for 10 weeks in 2019 and 2020, and up to 12 weeks in 2021.
3. The law is an expansion of the disability insurance program.
This law does not apply if you are working as a freelancer or an independent contractor, a common job description in New York. You must be a proper employee to benefit from this Act. Your employee needs to be paying for disability insurance on your behalf to make you eligible. You may need to find out. Also, you are required to have worked for the employer for at least 26 weeks and for a minimum of 20 hours per week, aside from being an employee.
Employees working less than 20 hours per week will be required to have worked for the employer for at least 175 days to qualify. These requirements would be an obstacle to employees with irregular schedules or working multiple part-time jobs. You are advised to speak to your employer about meeting the minimum requirements earlier if you are planning to have a child or start a family. Independent contractors can purchase paid-family leave benefits under some other insurance plans.
4. The leave is job-protected
Employees will be protected from losing their jobs for using the benefits if they are taking advantage of this insurance benefit like the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. But employees are expected to notify their employer as soon as possible or a minimum of 30 days, provide all the necessary documents and complete all the necessary paperwork.
If you are eligible but having challenges applying or receiving these benefits due to threats from your employer, get help from an attorney. Also, you may make a complaint directly to the New York Compensation Board if your employer is violating state law in any way.