New Yorkers are Expecting!
Advocates Launch “9-Month Countdown” to Celebrate 2018 Start of Paid Family Leave for New York Workers
New Yorkers thinking about starting a family or having another child have a lot to be thankful for this year. Starting in 2018, New York’s 6.4 million private sector workers, both men and women, will be able to take paid leave to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill family member.
Last April, advocates, businesses, and legislative leaders celebrated the passage of the strongest paid family leave program in the country. This April, we’re celebrating the 9-Month Countdown to the start of this exciting new program that will enable workers to be there for the first months of a new child’s life, or to care for a seriously ill family member, without having to worry about how to pay the bills.
Nearly all private sector workers are covered through a small weekly insurance premium. Public sector unions can opt-in. The insurance program pays workers while on leave, so employers have that person’s salary or wages to hire temporary staff or cover overtime. It's a win-win for employers and employees, when these critical life events frequently put strain on managing time away from work.
This program runs concurrently with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which only allows workers at employers of 50 or more to take unpaid leave. New York’s program builds upon that, by allowing workers at all sizes of business to access the benefit, and creates a paid component. These provisions are critical so that workers can actually afford to take this time and will have the peace of mind that they have a job to come back to when they return. Nationally, only 13% of private sector workers have access to paid family leave.
The new program will start January 1, 2018 and phase in over the next 4 years. In 2018, it will provide workers with 8 weeks of leave at 50% of their average weekly wage up to a maximum benefit of 50% of the statewide average weekly wage (NYSAWW). For example, based on the 2016 NYSAWW of $1,306, someone making $800 per week would receive $400 per week, and someone making $1,600 would receive the cap of $653.
Once fully phased in in 2021, it will provide workers with 12 weeks of leave at 2/3rds of their own wage up to a maximum benefit of 2/3rds of the NYSAWW. Again, based on the 2016 NYSAWW of $1,306, someone making $800 per week would receive $536 per week, and someone making $1,600 would receive the cap of $875. Actual 2018 numbers are still to be determined.
More information is available at the state website: ny.gov/paidfamilyleave