On April 1, the New York State Legislature signed into law the strongest and most comprehensive paid family leave policy.  When fully phased in, employees will be eligible for 12 weeks of paid leave to bond with newborns, care for a family member with a serious medical condition or handle responsibilities if someone is called to active military service.  The new policy will be phased in gradually.  Beginning January 1, 2018, workers can get 8 weeks of leave at fifty percent of their weekly pay (capped at $630) followed by up to 10 weeks in 2019 and 2010, and 12 weeks by 2021 with two-third pay.

Currently, the federal Family Leave and Medical Act (FMLA) allows for 12 weeks of leave with no pay.  Unlike the FMLA, New York’s paid leave law will cover full-time and part-time employees and there will be no exemptions for small businesses.  Furthermore, an employee only has to be employed by the company for 6 months, compared to twelve months required by the FMLA.

New York is now the fifth state, after California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Washington to mandate paid leave.  New York’s bill is the strongest, however.   California and New Jersey offer 6 weeks off, Rhode Island offers 4 weeks, and Washington passed a paid leave law in 2007 but it has not yet been implemented.