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New York Just Announced an Astounding 12 Weeks of Paid Family Leave

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I love New York mugSomeone get me a U-Haul, I want to move back to the Big Apple. Yesterday, New York finalized a budget deal that includes a revolutionary paid family leave policy that will make a huge difference to parents and children all over the state.

According to The Cut:

The program will mandate up to 12 weeks of paid time off from a job to bond with a new child (including adopted or foster children), or to care for a gravely ill parent, child, spouse, domestic partner, or other family member.

It also allows the same amount of leave to help families when someone is called to active military service.

The new bill covers full-time and part-time employees, and employees at small businesses are included. To quality, an employee must have been at their job for at least six months. The U.S.’s national Family Medical Leave Act requires one year of employment and does not cover part-time employees or employees at small businesses. Also, the FMLA does not require that employees be paid during parental leave. New York’s new plan does.

The new policy will go into effect in 2018, and will have a ramp-up period to get to the full 12 weeks of paid leave. In 2018, employees will be eligible for up to 8 weeks of leave. That increases to 10 weeks in 2019, and 12 weeks in 2021.

The pay scale also has a ramp-up period. According to Eater, In 2018, employees will be eligible for 8 weeks of leave at 50 percent of the average worker’s weekly wage in New York, which would be $633/week at current rates. That will increase to 67 percent of the average weekly wage in 2021, or $849 a week, at today’s levels.

Family leave will reportedly be paid for on an insurance model, with approximately a dollar a week coming from employee paychecks. The leave program is also reportedly available to all parents, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. That means that two-parent families could conceivably stagger their leave times so one parent takes the first three months, and the other parent takes the next three, and the baby maybe starts daycare at six months.

This is great news for a lot of families. People should have time to bond with their newborns, or say goodbye to a dying loved one, and now more people will have that opportunity.

(Photo: jfmdesign/iStockPhoto/Getty Images)

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