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New York State Assembly Passes Paid Family Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law which allows eligible employees who work at businesses with 50 or more employees, and select employees who work at governmental organizations or certain schools with less than 50 employees, to take 12 unpaid weeks from work for specific family issues, such as when a new baby is born or when a family member is ill. However, due to gaps in the federal program, only about 20 percent of new mothers are eligible under FMLA. The New York State Assembly has expanded the parameters of FMLA by passing the Paid Family Leave Act on March 17, 2015, which mandates pay for employees taking leave. The bill is pending in the State Senate.

According to Spotlight News, under the Paid Family Leave Act, a worker is entitled to two-thirds of their average weekly wage, up to a certain amount. The program will be funded out of New York’s Temporary Disability Insurance program, which is supported by funds from employee payroll deductions.

Some critics of the Paid Family Leave Act argue that this mandate will have huge ramifications for employers, workers, and taxpayers. Frank Castella Jr., for the Poughkeepsie Journal, stated that New York State businesses may resort to layoffs or reduced hours for employees. Castella cites that with the burden of both the proposed minimum wage increase and the Paid Family Leave Act, businesses may have to close unless they raise prices of products and services. The new law will increase taxes and fees associated with payroll, and result in a loss of productivity. Castella calculates that the 12 weeks of leave will equate to 25 percent of a business’ productivity.

If you own a business and are concerned over the Paid Family Leave Act or other business law issues, contact an experienced attorney who can protect and advise you of your legal rights. The Law Offices of Tanya Hobson-Williams is dedicated to advising businesses in all legal matters. For more information, call the Hobson-Williams, P.C. toll free at (866) 825-1529 or (718) 210-4744.