Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

Understanding the new family leave regulations

In order to ensure one's rights are being protected, it is essential to keep up with changing employment regulations. New York saw some major changes in employment law, passed late last month but not set to become enforceable until a couple of years down the line. However, for those employees who are planning families in the state, the changes could make a huge difference.

New York can now boast that it has the strongest and most comprehensive paid family leave time bill in the country. According to the new program, employees are entitled to 12 weeks paid leave from a job to either bond with a new child (biological, adopted or foster) or to take care of a gravely sick relative. This leave is offered to both male and female employees, giving fathers the opportunity to bond with their children as well and allows New York employees to delay putting their children into daycare by a couple of months.

Many people may find this similar to leave they are entitled to under the Family and Medical Leave Act, but there are key differences. First of all, the New York bill does away with the exceptions relating to number of employees in businesses and it also covers both part-time and full-time employees, unlike the FMLA. The FMLA does not mandate that employees be compensated during that leave and employees should have been employed at that business for at least one year. Under the new program, compensation is mandatory and employees who have worked for the company for six months are eligible for the benefit.

Though the bill is set to become effective in 2018, and that too at a staggered pace, it is still an important piece of legislation. New York employees should know what their rights are when it comes to negotiating their employment contract and experienced employee representation may be one way to achieve that.

Source: A Better Balance, "Paid Family Leave For New York," accessed April 27, 2016

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