NY Takes the Lead on Offering Mandatory Paid Leave
The number of states providing employees with some form of paid leave has increased by one, and it is a big one. This month New York passed the most comprehensive paid leave law in the country. New York now joins California, Rhode Island, Washington, New Jersey and the District of Columbia as the only other states to offer a paid leave program for employees. Not to be discounted, many other states, including Minnesota, are in fierce debates over structuring paid leave programs for their employees.
Under the New York program eligible employees will be entitled to take up to 12 weeks of partially paid family leave for circumstances akin to their entitlement to time off under the FMLA (e.g. because of a serious health condition, to care for newborns, to care for newly adopted children). Employees would contribute through a weekly payroll deduction to a Temporary Disability Insurance fund. Employees would then be compensated at a rate of 2/3 of their average weekly wages up to a maximum weekly cap. In essence, it’s an insurance program designed to be funded solely through employee contributions (Prognostication: Employee contributions are likely to be insufficient to fund the program)
There is no denying that proponents of paid sick or paid leave in general are experiencing many successes after years of lobbying for these changes. One only needs to visit the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) website to see how strong the push is for these laws. On the front page the agency provides nearly weekly updates of how the Secretary of Labor and underlings are traversing the country hosting town halls, engaging audiences about the healthcare needs for paid time off, and generally advancing an agenda advocating for states and municipalizes to enact mandatory paid time off laws – www.dol.gov.
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