New York State has changed its laws on Paid Family Leave (PFL) as of January 1, 2019. Both employees and employers understand what these changes include. If you or a family member are eligible for Paid Family Leave in New York (click here to find out if you are eligible), it is important to know what Paid Family Leave benefits you are now entitled to under NYS law. Although the following changes may affect payroll deductions for employees, Paid Family Leave can be crucial for positive and healthy work-life balance. Many workers without the option of Paid Family Leave continued to work with a serious illness or injury, experienced their own serious illness or injury worsen while continuing to work, had trouble caring for family members who had serious illnesses, and even put off having children in fear of financial hardship. It is crucial to know whether you are eligible for Paid Family Leave and to keep updated on changes in New York State law.
Here are the changes to the state’s law on Paid Family Leave:
In 2018, employees were only entitled to take off 8 weeks of partially paid leave to “bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service.” In 2019, you are permitted to take 10 weeks of Paid Family Leave.
In addition, beginning February 3, 2019, Governor Cuomo has included preparation for, and recovery from, surgery related to organ or tissue donation in the law’s definition of a “serious health condition.” This ensures that organ/tissue donators can be cared for by family members eligible for Paid Family Leave.
In 2018, those who took Paid Family Leave were only eligible for a weekly pay that was 50% of their Average Weekly Wage (AWW) for up to 8 weeks. Their weekly pay, however, was capped off at 50% of the New York State’s Average Weekly Wage. New York State’s Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) in 2018 was $1,305.92, meaning that those on Paid Family Leave could not earn more than $652.96 (50% of the SAWW) per week.
For 2019, those who take Paid Family Leave are now eligible for 55% of their Average Weekly Wage for up to 10 weeks. Their weekly pay will cap off at 55% of the New York State’s Average Weekly Wage. The New York State’s Average Weekly Wage in 2019 is $1,357.11, meaning those on Paid Family Leave in 2019 cannot earn more than $746.41 (55% of the SAWW) per week.
If you are eligible for Paid Family Leave, but your employer refuses your request, fails to properly provide you with the new 2019 Paid Family Leave benefits, discriminates or retaliates against you in any way for requesting or taking Paid Family Leave, you may have a claim against them. Contact the Long Island and New York City Employment Lawyers at Leeds Brown Law, P.C., today. You can reach us via email or by phone at (212) 433-2403 or (516) 701-2289.