If you or someone in your family gets sick, you may need to take time off work. However, determining your eligibility to take leave and whether you can afford to take leave can be a major source of stress.
Thankfully, many New York employees quality for some type of family leave.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides eligible employees with 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid time off work for specific purposes. These purposes include:
- To bond with a newborn or with a child placed with the employee for adoption or foster care
- To care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition
- To recover from a serious illness or injury
- To handle issues stemming from military service
This federal program covers millions of people, but you must meet strict criteria to be eligible. For instance, you must have 12 months of employment with your current employer, and you must have worked at least 1,250 hours during that time.
New York paid family leave
Employees may also be eligible for leave under New York’s paid family leave law. While the state and federal programs are similar in many regards, there are critical distinctions.
The FMLA provides unpaid time off, while state family leave is paid time off. However, employees cannot use this leave for their own health needs and care, but they can use FMLA leave for that reason.
Further, many people are eligible for paid family leave even if they are not eligible for FMLA. The state’s program has lower minimum time-worked requirements, and employers can opt into the program to cover seasonal, part-time and public employees.
Protecting your leave rights
Having the right to take time away from work is crucial for workers across New York. This time allows people to adapt to life-changing, stressful situations without the added pressure of going to work and without the risk of losing their job.
Unfortunately, workers do not always get the time they deserve. They may be unaware of their rights, their employer may mislead them about their options, or their employer may wrongfully deny leave requests. Thus, in order to protect your rights, job, wages, and benefits, you should consult an attorney.