Trying to get pregnant? Perfect timing — you could be among the first people in New York State to benefit from a law going into effect Jan. 1, 2018, that will provide a percentage of paid time off for new parents in the private sector.
“We’re in the nine-month countdown to paid family leave,” says Eric Williams, campaign director with the New York Paid Leave Coalition.
The plan will phase in over four years. In 2018, new parents will be eligible for eight weeks of leave at 50 percent pay up to a cap of 50 percent of the statewide average weekly pay, Williams says. For instance, the statewide average in 2016 was approximately $1,306 a week, so parents would be eligible for up to $653. Earn $1,000 a week? You’d get $500. Earn $1,500 a week? You’d get the $653 cap. Exact amounts for 2018 are still being determined, Williams says.
In 2019 and 2020, new parents will be eligible for 10 weeks, and in 2021 the plan will be in full force at 12 weeks. By 2021, new parents will receive two-thirds of their weekly wage, Williams says. Both parents are eligible for the leave. Leave will also be available for people caring for seriously ill family members. “At the moment we’re trying to focus on the parental leave component,” Williams says.
The plan will be funded by mandatory contributions from all private sector employees in the ballpark of $1.50 a week taken out of their paychecks, Williams says. Public sector unions can also opt into the program, he says.
The state program will run concurrently with the federal Family Medical Leave Act, which offers unpaid time off up to 12 weeks with job protection, Williams says. Unlike FMLA, the state plan will apply to all private businesses, regardless of the number of employees.
For more information, visit ny.gov/paidfamilyleave