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New York's Paid Family Leave Benefits Law Goes into Effect July 1

A new state law will give eligible employees up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. The coverage will allow employees to take time off to care for a child or close relative with a serious health condition, or to assist with family obligations when a family member is called into active military duty.

The law goes into effect on July 1st and is entirely employee-funded, meaning that employees will begin to see a payroll deduction in their paychecks beginning next month. However, employees must wait until January 1, 2018 before they can take advantage of the Paid Family Leave law.

Under the new law, employees will receive a portion of their average weekly wage and health insurance during their leave, and are guaranteed a return to their job when they return to work. If they contribute to their health insurance, the employees must continue to do so while on leave.

Some of the most noteworthy provisions of the law include:

  • Unlike the FMLA, the law applies to businesses of all sizes.
  • There are no exclusions for employees who don't want to participate.
  • Employers that fail to provide leave will be subject to a fine.
  • Employers that fail to collect premiums will be liable for family leave benefit payments.
  • Employers that fail to continue health insurance benefits for those on leave will be liable for medical costs.
  • Employers must update employee handbooks or distribute notices to employees.

The law will fully phase in over the next four years, with employees being eligible for 8 weeks of leave the first year, and ramping up to 12 weeks by year four. Additionally, the amount that employees are eligible to receive while on paid leave will increase each year, from 50% of employees' average weekly earnings in 2018, to 67% in 2021, although employees earning more than the New York State's Average Weekly Wage will have their weekly benefits capped.

For more information on this topic, visit this website set up by New York State to provide an overview of the new law.

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