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New York to Require Paid Maternity & Paternity Leave

New York to Require Paid Maternity & Paternity Leave

New Yorkers will have the right to as much as 12 weeks of paid leave from work to care for a new child or sick relative under the budget deal agreed to this week in Albany. The leave policy will apply equally to men and women, and is among the most comprehensive and progressive in the country.

The leave policy will be phased in over several years, starting in 2018 with a maximum of eight weeks’ leave that year, the 12-week policy will come by 2021, according to New York magazine. Employees on leave will initially receive 50 percent of their pay, rising to 67 percent when the policy is fully implemented. It will be funded by employee deductions, which will amount to about $1 per week per employee taken out of paychecks.

New York will be the fifth state to require paid family leave. The others are California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington.

New York’s paid maternity/paternity leave policy will cover part-time and full-time employees who have been at their jobs at least six months. It includes businesses large and small.

Federal law has for years required employers to offer leave, but not paid leave. Unpaid leave offers job security: Parents who take off to care for newborns cannot lose their jobs for doing so and are guaranteed the right to return to their jobs at the end of leave. But 12 weeks without a paycheck is difficult or impossible for many families. Additionally, the federal Family & Medical Leave Act also only applies only to workplaces with 50 employees or more, while New York’s covers smaller businesses as well.

New York’s new state budget also includes a gradually phased-in $15 per hour minimum wage. New York City will reach the $15 requirement by the end of 2018, with the suburbs and upstate trailing. 

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