NY’s Paid Family Leave expanded to include siblings with a serious health condition

Posted 2 November 2021 at 8:48 am

Press Release, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office

Governor Kathy Hochul on Monday signed a bill (S.2928-A/A.06098-A) that expands New York State’s Paid Family Leave legislation to allow caring for siblings. Under the current law, employees cannot take leave to care for a sibling with a serious health condition.

“Taking care of your family is a basic human right, no one should have to choose between caring for a loved one and a paycheck,” Governor Hochul said. “Fighting to expand paid family leave is personal to me and so many others, and I am proud to work with advocates and legislators to make sure that New Yorkers can now take care of their siblings without fear of losing their jobs or income.”

This bill builds upon the Paid Family Leave legislation that was enacted in 2016, which created one of the most comprehensive paid family leave programs in the nation. In effect since 2018, New York’s Paid Family Leave program is employee-paid insurance that provides workers with job-protected, paid time off to bond with a newly born, adopted or fostered child; care for a family member with a serious health condition (which may include severe cases of COVID-19), or assist loved ones when a member of the family is deployed abroad on active military service.

Paid Family Leave may also be available in some situations when an employee or their minor, dependent child is under an order of quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19. Eligible workers may take up to 12 weeks off at 67% of their pay (up to a cap) to care for family members in times of need.

Currently, Paid Family Leave family care covers caring for spouses, domestic partners, children and step-children, parents, parents-in-law, grandparents and grandchildren with a serious health condition. Through Legislation S.2928-A/A.06098-A, the definition of “family members” expands to include siblings. This includes biological siblings, adopted siblings, step-siblings and half-siblings. These family members can live outside of New York State, and even outside of the country.

The bill will go into effect on January 1, 2023.

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “New York’s Paid Family Leave has been a model across our nation when it comes to helping working families, and I commend Governor Hochul for her leadership in expanding the definition of family to include siblings. This last year and half has been especially hard on working caregivers, and a loss of income can be devastating for New Yorkers who must care for a sick family member. This is a critical step toward easing that hardship.”