Many working in New York can now receive more paid leave when they need it most.

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On Monday, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill that expands New York State's Paid Family Leave legislation to allow caring for siblings. Under the current law, employees cannot take leave to care for a sibling with a serious health condition.

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Getty Images

Hochul stated:

Taking care of your family is a basic human right, no one should have to choose between caring for a loved one and a paycheck. Fighting to expand paid family leave is personal to me and so many others, and I am proud to work with advocates and legislators to make sure that New Yorkers can now take care of their siblings without fear of losing their jobs or income.

This bill builds upon the Paid Family Leave legislation that was enacted in 2016, which created one of the most comprehensive paid family leave programs in the nation.

No one should have to choose between caring for a loved one and a paycheck.

In effect since 2018, New York's Paid Family Leave program is employee-paid insurance that provides workers with job-protected, paid time off to bond with a newly born, adopted or fostered child; care for a family member with a serious health condition (which may include severe cases of COVID-19), or assist loved ones when a member of the family is deployed abroad on active military service.

Volunteer and old people

Paid Family Leave may also be available in some situations when an employee or their minor, dependent child is under an order of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Eligible workers may take up to 12 weeks off at 67% of their pay (up to a cap) to care for family members in times of need.

senior woman with home caregiver

Currently, Paid Family Leave family care covers caring for spouses, domestic partners, children and step-children, parents, parents-in-law, grandparents and grandchildren with serious health conditions.

The new bill expands the definition of "family members" expands to include siblings. This includes biological siblings, adopted siblings, step-siblings and half-siblings.

Close-up of a senior woman and younger woman holding hands


These family members can live outside of New York State, and even outside of the country.

The new bill expands the definition of "family members" expands to include siblings. This includes biological siblings, adopted siblings, step-siblings and half-siblings.

The bill will go into effect on January 1, 2023.



State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. said:

When New York State introduced Paid Family Leave back in 2016, it was one of the most comprehensive programs of its kind. Now, with the passing of this bill, our state's Paid Family Leave program is even stronger. Siblings — biological or adopted — are vital members of the family structure and are sometimes the only family some people have. To now have them included in our Paid Family Leave program gives families added assurance that if something happens to a sibling, that they will be able to take the time off needed to care for their family member.

Assemblymember Sandy Galef added:

The strong bond siblings share is undeniable. For many individuals, siblings may be the only family member available to assist and provide health care in their time of need and it has happened so often during the COVID pandemic. Thank you to Governor Hochul for signing this legislation which expands the definition of family to include siblings. New York is a leader again in making sure that those with serious health issues can be cared for by their brothers or sisters without them losing their jobs and their salaries. This is a caring and compassionate addition to NY's Paid Family Leave law.

New York State Workers' Compensation Board Chair Clarissa M. Rodriguez, stated:

New York State Paid Family Leave has helped thousands of New Yorkers care for their family members since taking effect in 2018. This bill further strengthens New York's nation-leading Paid Family Leave, affording even more hard-working New Yorkers access to job-protected, paid time off so they may provide critical support to a sibling with a serious health condition.

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said:

New York's Paid Family Leave has been a model across our nation when it comes to helping working families, and I commend Governor Hochul for her leadership in expanding the definition of family to include siblings. This last year and half has been especially hard on working caregivers, and a loss of income can be devastating for New Yorkers who must care for a sick family member. This is a critical step toward easing that hardship.


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