Having a loved one with a serious health condition or welcoming a child into your family can completely change your life. To protect workers in these situations and allow them to take the time they need to care for family members without losing their jobs or income, New York State has enacted policies like Paid Family Leave.
However, laws change over time. Below are some changes to Paid Family Leave that every worker should understand.
Extension to siblings
Paid Family Leave protects the pay and job status of workers who take time off to care for a close family member. Previously, the law only allowed applied to employees who took leave to care for parents and grandparents, children and grandchildren, or spouses and partners. However, starting in 2023, the law now allows workers to take paid leave to care for a sibling with a serious health condition, including:
- Biological siblings
- Adopted siblings
Increase in maximum weekly benefits
Workers taking leave under this act can collect about 67 percent of their average weekly wage. However, there is a cap on this amount, which legislators can adjust based on the current average weekly wages in New York State.
In 2023, this cap increased by more than $60 per week, which means that workers taking leave this year can receive weekly benefits of up to $1,131.08.
Although these changes expand coverage and increase benefits, employee contribution rates are actually lower. In other words, workers who contribute to these benefits through payroll deductions are paying less for more.
What is staying the same?
As important as it is to know which parts of Paid Family Leave are changing, it is also crucial to understand what is staying the same.
In 2023, the laws will continue to provide critical worker protections, including:
- The right to return to the same or a comparable position
- Maintaining health insurance with the same terms
- Protection against harassment or discrimination for requesting or taking leave
Knowing about these changes is essential if you plan to welcome a child into your family or have family members who may need you to take time off of work to care for them. If you are planning to take advantage of Paid Family Leave, speak with an employment attorney if you have any questions about your rights under this law.