The Family and Medical Leave Act in New York
There are many situations in our lives where we will need to take time away from work. Caring for a sick family member, welcoming a new child into the world, or recovering from a serious health condition are a few examples.
Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you may be eligible for time off work for certain events. As an employee in New York state, you may also be eligible for paid leave in other qualifying situations.
Your Rights under the Federal Family Leave and Medical Act
New York employers with at least 50 employees must follow the provisions of the federal FMLA. Under this law, New York employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for the following situations:
- The employee needs to recover from a serious health condition.
- The employee needs to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
- The employee needs to bond with his or her new child.
- The employee needs to care for a family member who was seriously injured during active duty while serving in the military.
- The employee needs to handle qualifying exigencies that arise out of a family member’s military service.
To qualify for federally protected leave, the employee must have worked for the company for at least one year and worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year. The employee is entitled to be reinstated to the same or equivalent position when he or she returns.
Family and Medical Leave in New York State
New York provides additional family and medical leave rights to employees across the state.
- Adoption Leave: Employers that offer parental leave must make the same amount of leave available for employees who adopt a child who is preschool age or younger, or under the age of 18 with a disability.
- Paid Sick Leave: Employers in New York must give up to 56 hours of paid sick leave each year for employees who suffer from a mental or physical illness, or need protection after being the victim of domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, or another sexual or family offense. These protections also extend to employees’ family members.
- Military Family Leave: Employers with at least 20 employees must provide up to 10 days of leave to eligible employees with a spouse who is in the military and is on leave from deployment.
- Temporary Disability Insurance: New York’s temporary disability insurance program provides benefits to employees who are temporarily unable to work due to a disability, for up to 26 weeks. Employees must have worked for the employer for at least four weeks.
- Paid Family Leave: Employees who have worked for an employer for at least 26 weeks have the right to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a family member with a health condition, bond with a new child, or handle obligations related to a family member’s military service.
What If Your Employer Denies Your FMLA Rights?
You are entitled to FMLA rights under federal and state laws. However, some employers violate these provisions. If your employer denies your FMLA rights, you have the right to hold your company accountable for these illegal actions.
In these situations, you need an attorney who can represent your claim against your employer. As soon as possible following the violation, consult with a New York employment attorney to discuss your next steps.