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Who Pays for Paid Leave?

Believe it or not, the rich aren't funding this, we are.

Kate Hogan's picture
by Kate Hogan on
Aug 17, 2017

Being an employee in New York has always had its ups and downs. One of the most recent upsides is that working people in New York State will be eligible for paid family leave on January 1, 2018. On the other side of this, those same workers are basically going to have to fund the new benefit themselves. 

Paid family leave is money that an employee receives from their employer, insurer, or the government while they are away from work for an extended period of time. This could be for a variety of reasons, like recovering from a serious health issue, taking care of a seriously ill family member, or to bond with a newborn or newly adopted child.

Almost every full time private-sector employee in the state is eligible for the benefits of paid family leave. Public employees who are represented by a union will receive this benefit under their collective bargaining agreement. Employees that work less than 20 hours a week have to be employed for at least 26 consecutive weeks to be eligible for paid leave. If you work less than 26 hours, the number changes to at least 175 days. Employees will have to give up 0.126% of their weekly wages to cover these benefits.

There are advantages to offering paid time off and paid family leave. Employees feel valued when they are allowed time off. Many employees who have paid time off benefits feel refreshed and energized after some time off from the work environment. It also helps make employees feel empowered to make decisions about person’s, collective or individual, needs. There are some disadvantages as well. Some research shows that employers who adopt paid time off may give employees fewer overall days than they previously had. It takes new employees longer to acquire time off than long term employees. 

The fact that they have to fund the paid leave program themselves may come as an unpleasant surprise to many employees. Employers should give notice that this policy is going to start going into effect.

They should also develop a paid family leave policy and try to include it in their employee handbook, and make it a point to make sure that all of their employees understand what benefits they are paying for. 

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