Governor Hochul Expands The New York Paid Family Leave Act To Cover Siblings With A Serious Health Condition

This is the first blog in a series covering New York’s Recent Expansions Of Its Employment Laws.

November 17, 2021  |  By: Brigette N. Eagan, Esq., Sydney M. Schubert, Esq.

This is the first blog in a series covering New York’s Recent Expansions Of Its Employment Laws.

The New York State Paid Family Leave Act

New York State’s Paid Family Leave Act is one of the most comprehensive paid family leave programs in the United States. The Paid Family Leave Act is essentially an employee-paid insurance program, covered by payroll deductions, which guarantees eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected and paid leave from work. Leave may be taken to: 1) bond with a new-born or newly fostered or adopted child, 2) care for a family member with a serious health condition, or 3) to assist with matters when a family member is deployed for active military service. While on leave, employees receive 67% of their base pay, but certain caps apply based on the employee’s salary.

The Act, effective since 2018, historically defined family member to include a child or stepchild, parent or parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, spouse, or domestic partner. This blog deals with an expansion of the Act’s coverage to include siblings as family members.

The Amendments

Governor Hochul recently expanded New York’s Paid Family Leave Act by amending the definition of family to include siblings. Siblings under the amendment covers both biological and adopted siblings, half siblings, and step-siblings. This amendment will allow employees time off to care for siblings with a serious health condition. Employers have time to comply, as this amendment does not become effective until January 1, 2023. Notably, this amendment comes on the heels of other expansions of the Act to include job protected leave when caring for family members with serious cases of Covid-19, or in limited circumstances, when the employee or the employee’s minor child is subject to an order of quarantine related to Covid-19.

Bottom Line

Year end is the time for employers to evaluate their handbooks for updates to reflect changes in the law. While making these updates, employers can note the recent amendment and the date when it becomes effective. This update is one of many that will be made, as New York is passing a flurry of employee protective laws this last quarter. Stay Tuned. In our next blog, we will next cover New York’s newest employment law on employee expectations of privacy at work.

For more information regarding this new law and for assistance in preparing for compliance and updating your Employee Handbook and policies, please contact Counsel Brigette N. Eagan, Esq. via email here in Genova Burns’ Human Resources, Counseling & Compliance Practice Group or call 973.533.0777.

Tags: Genova Burns LLCBrigette N. EaganSydney SchubertNew Yorkpaid family leave actHuman Resources Counseling & ComplianceEmployment Law