Am I entitled to paid family leave from my job?
Given the current state of U.S. affairs, more and more people are having to juggle work obligations and family concerns to take care of themselves or their loved ones. If this has happened to you, know that you do not necessarily have to soldier on while missing work. There are options that you may be able to avail yourself of so that you can take paid leave, potentially eliminating financial issues for you in the future.
Federal Law Allows 12 Weeks
The most common method for employees to try and seek paid leave is by using the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA was passed in 1993, allowing workers to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave in a 12-month period if they meet the other criteria – namely, one must work for the employer for at least 12 months, and have worked at least 1,250 hours during that period for that employer. Their employer must have at least 50 employees working for them as well.
If an employee is eligible on those grounds, they may take paid leave for a variety of health-related reasons, some of which include:
- The birth of a child and caring for that child for up to 1 year after birth;
- Caring for a spouse, child, or parent who has a “serious health condition;”
- Dealing with one’s own ‘serious’ health condition; or
- Any ‘qualifying exigency’ stemming from the employee’s spouse, child, or parent being a qualified military member on ‘covered duty.’
In rare situations, an employee can take 26 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember who (1) is their spouse, child, or parent; and (2) has a serious injury or illness. This is referred to as military caregiver leave, though it is granted far less often than a standard FMLA claim.
New York State Law Is More Accommodating
While it is not uncommon for employers to deny FMLA requests based on a belief that the health condition is not “serious,” New York State’s paid family leave law is generally more accommodating, meaning that fewer claims are denied. While an employee is not eligible for federal FMLA leave until they have worked for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours, New York State law allows a full time worker to seek paid family leave after only 26 weeks of employment (approximately half of one year) if they work at least 20 hours a week.
Another important point to keep in mind about seeking paid family leave in New York is that in New York, an employee who becomes eligible will remain eligible until they are no longer with the company. Depending on the nature of their employment, someone can weave in and out of eligibility under the federal FMLA, but New York expressly avoids this. In addition, as of this writing, Gov. Cuomo has also signed additional paid leave options into law that will remain at least for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, helping to guarantee job protection for more workers.
Call A New York City Employment Lawyer
In this day and age it is all too easy to feel caught between work and family, and paid leave can sometimes help to bridge that gap. Having a New York City Family & Medical Leave Act lawyer from Mansell Law, LLC on your side can help to give you the best possible chance at getting what you deserve. Contact our offices today at 646-921-8900 to speak to an attorney.