Earlier this year, New York enacted the NY Family Leave Law, which mandates NY businesses, including small businesses, to provide family leave for most employees. This article is part of our ongoing series of laws that NY small business owners should consider.
Under the new law Family Leave Law in New York, your NY business must offer both full-time and part-time employees who have been employed for a minimum of six months up to 12 weeks paid time off if they are (a) new parents (including adoptive parents); (b) individuals who need to take care of a family member with a serious medical condition; or (c) individuals with a need to relieve family pressures after a spouse, domestic partner, child or parent has been called to active military service. The new law applies to every kind of business. There is no exception for NY small businesses.
Starting on January 1, 2018, eligible employees can receive up to eight weeks of time off at 50 percent of their weekly pay, as computed by the NYS Department of Labor. Annual increases occur until 2021, where eligible employees can get up to 12 weeks at 67 percent of their weekly pay.
An eligible employee may take the paid family leave to care for a new child anytime within the first 12 months after the child’s birth or placement for adoption or foster care. For care of a seriously ill relative, employees will be able to take their paid leave time intermittently in increments of one full day or one fifth of the weekly benefit. New York’s Family Leave Law also guarantees job protection and continuation of health care benefits after taking of the leave.
If you are an employer, especially a small business in New York, you need to prepare for the commercial and financial impacts of this law sooner rather than later. Your business is about to absorb additional employment costs, decreased productivity and increased administrative costs. You will need to amend internal policies and handbooks to reflect these changes. And, you have less than a year to begin preparations.
Now is the time to consult with an employment attorney to start preparing for the additional burdens imposed by NY’s Family Leave Law. We, also, would consider a complete compliance audit of your business. Laws and the enforcement of laws in New York change with politics and a proactive and street-smart guide is often necessary to build systems that allow compliance with relevant New York State, New York City and U.S. Federal Law.
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