reporter

Reporter for The Post-Star, covering the city of Glens Falls, town and village of Lake George and northern Warren County communities.

Starting Jan. 1, New York residents will be eligible to take paid time off to bond with a new child, care for a loved one or to help out with household issues if a family member is called to active duty.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation guaranteeing paid family leave. People are eligible during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child. Other qualifying circumstances are if they are serving as caretakers for a sick spouse, domestic partner, child, stepchild, parent, stepparent, parent-in-law, grandparent or grandchild; or if they have a spouse, child, domestic partner or parent who has been notified of an order of active military service abroad, according to a news release.

People who work at least 20 hours or more a week will be able to receive paid family leave after 26 consecutive weeks of employment. Those people who work fewer than 20 hours a week can apply for paid leave after working for 175 days.

The paid family leave is being funded by payroll deductions of 0.126 percent of an employee’s weekly wage, according to a news release.

The first phase will consist of up to eight weeks of paid leave at 50 percent of their average weekly wage. That will increase to 12 weeks of paid leave in 2021 at 67 percent of the weekly wage.

“Our strongest-in-the-nation paid family leave policy will ensure that no one has to choose between losing a job and missing the birth of a child or being able to spend time with a loved one in their final days,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news release. “This will help improve the lives of workers across this great state and I am proud to enact this landmark legislation to help move New York forward.”

Donna Dolan, executive director of the New York Paid Leave Coalition, praised the implementation of the new law.

“This is an exciting moment for our state and the culmination of decades of work by elected leaders, advocates, activists, workers, and families around the state,” she said in a news release. Hundreds of organizations and thousands of New Yorkers joined the movement to make this day happen. Now we embark on the next step: educating New Yorkers about how to use this program for those critical moments in life.

For more information, visit the website, www.ny.gov/PaidFamilyLeave or call the Paid Family Leave helpline at 1-844-337-6303.

The Post-Star’s parent company, Lee Enterprises, began offering two weeks of paid family leave beginning in 2017. It worked out great for me since I was able to use it to some time with my son Alexander after he was born in May.

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