New York State is one of the first states in the nation to enact a paid family leave benefit law and to expand the definition of family caregiving to include elder care. Governor Cuomo’s Paid Family Leave Benefits Law applies to all businesses, regardless of size, and will be phased in over the next four years beginning in January 2018.
This is a groundbreaking benefit for family and elder caregivers. With the aging population on Long Island, many elder caregivers are faced with reducing their hours on the job or quitting work altogether to care for an aging loved one. With paid leave, family caregivers will have an opportunity to arrange an elderly loved one’s legal, financial and healthcare needs without risking their own financial security.
How it Works
The benefit can be used to take a paid leave of absence to care for a family member with a serious health condition, which includes caring for a parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, spouse, domestic partner, child or grandchild. In January 2018, leave time will be phased in beginning with 8 weeks of leave, increasing to 10 weeks in 2019 and 2020, and reaching the full leave allotment of 12 weeks in 2021.
The benefit is financed by an employee payroll deduction of 0.126% of the employee’s weekly salary. The deduction will be capped based on the current average weekly wage in New York State (currently $1,305.92) such that the maximum payroll deduction will be $1.65 per week in 2018. Employers will begin making these payroll deductions on July 1, 2017.
The dollar amount of the wage benefit will also be phased in. In January 2018, an employee will be entitled to 50% of their average weekly salary up to a cap of $652.96 (50% of the New York State average weekly wage). In 2019, the benefit will increase to 55% of the employee’s average weekly salary, 60% in 2020 and the maximum of 67% will be reached in 2021. The wage cap will increase by the same percentages as the full benefit is phased in over the next four years.
Despite this benefit, working elder caregivers will still face significant hardships when juggling work performance and elder caregiving responsibilities. Cona Elder Law’s Elder Care Employee Benefit program is designed to give working elder caregivers the tools they need to navigate the elder care landscape while remaining present and productive at work. The program helps employers by reducing absenteeism, downtime and turnover and promotes job security for employees. For information on TAWC: Tools and Advice for Working Caregivers, click here.