Helping New York Family Caregivers
A new law going into effect in 2018 will help New York family caregivers balance their on-the-job responsibilities with the needs of their loved ones, offering a new level of job security and financial support to those who need it most. This article will explain the mechanics behind the New York Paid Family Leave program and what to expect when put into action on January 1, 2018.
The Basics: Eligibility
Almost every private employee in New York State will be eligible for this program, provided they have been a full-time employee for 26-plus weeks or a part-time employee for 175 days.
According to the law as written, qualified employees can request Paid Family Leave if a “close relative” is experiencing a “serious medical condition.” The law identifies “close relatives” as the following:
- Domestic partner
- Parent in-law
The law also defines “serious medical conditions as any illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either:
- Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential health care facility
- Continuing treatment or continuing supervision by a health care provider
This program also goes into effect in the event of the birth, adoption or fostering of a child, however the program will not cover any time off during a pregnancy.
Benefits and Timeline
The Paid Family Leave program will be rolled out over the course of several years, starting January 1, 2018 and is scheduled to be fully implemented by January 1, 2021.
At the start of the roll out, family caregivers will be able to take up to 8 weeks off and collect 50 percent of their weekly pay, with a pay cap at 50 percent of the state’s average weekly wage (currently calculated at $1,296 and resulting in a pay cap of $648).
When fully implemented in 2021, employees will be eligible for 12 weeks of paid leave, earning 67 percent of their weekly pay, capped at 67 percent of the state average weekly wage.
Along with the benefits of paid time off, participants in the program are also offered job security during this period, meaning they cannot be laid off while caring for a loved one.
As written, Paid Family Leave program legislation is quite clear cut. The only caveat of note has to do with when these benefits refresh. Simply put, a 52-week timer begins on the first day of an employee’s paid family leave. If the employee uses the full allotment of paid leave time, they must wait for this timer to run down before they can take advantage of the program again. Lastly, it is important to note that this program will NOT be extended to freelancers and independent contractors.
Starting July 1, 2017 New York residents will notice a small additional deduction on their pay stubs that will go towards funding this program. Because every employee in the state is eligible for these benefits, it is not possible to opt out of this small deduction.
SelectCare Home Care Services of NY is excited to see this program go into action. With more than 30 years of experience supporting family caregivers, we understand the difficult choices families have had to make in the past in order to balance work and family responsibilities.
As always, our staff of home health care experts are here to help New York families no matter what challenges they face, offering everything from around the clock nursing support to short-term supplementary care to help family caregivers ensure their loved ones live happy, healthy lives in their long-time homes.