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Topics in Public Policy: NYS & Paid Family Leave

Just this month, New York State's 2016-2017 Budget created a paid family leave program under an article entitled "Disability Benefits Law and the Paid Family Leave Benefits Law." Section H of the Public Protection and General Government Bill defines family leave as "any leave taken by an employee from work to participate in providing care, including physical or psychological care, for a family member of the employee," "or to bond with the employee's child during the first twelve months after the child's birth, or the first twelve months after the placement of the child for adoption or foster care with the employee." New York State's AFL-CIO Leader Mario Cliento says that push and support from union workers -- particularly teachers, health care workers, steelworkers, and plumbers -- helped with the inclusion of this new program in the State budget. Prior to April 1, 2016, -- the date the bill came into effect -- federal law provided for unpaid family leave, which only covered 60 percent of all workers.

With the creation of the new family leave program, employees are eligible for twelve weeks of paid family leave when caring for an infant or ill family member. The program's funding will come from a nominal payroll deduction on employees and coverage will be provided by insurance carriers, which is clarified in Section H of the Public Protection and General Government Bill. The bill states that "In no event may the employee's annual contribution for family leave exceed his or her pro rata share of the actual annual premium charged for the same year." Any employer found in violation of this law is required to pay benefits required by the program, such as one percent of the payroll of their employees during the time of violation.

For further defining terms and requirements of eligibility for the family leave program, refer to Section H of the Public Protection and General Government Bill.

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Blog Created By: Kristen Thornton-De Stafeno
Image Credit: Public Domain Pictures

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