En Espanol. AARP New York and the Paid Family Leave Coalition fought for the Paid Family Leave program because family caregivers who work shouldn’t have to choose between caring for a loved one or losing their jobs. And beginning in January, we will reach that goal when one of the strongest Paid Family Leave laws in the nation takes effect.

Here are five things you should know about New York’s upcoming Paid Family Leave program:

1) What is paid family leave?

Under a new state law, working New Yorkers will be able to take time off to care for a loved one while still receiving a portion of their salary and without worrying about whether they will lose their jobs. New York’s Paid Family Leave program will be one of the strongest in the country.

2) When does the program begin?

The program will be available on January 1, 2018. At the beginning, employees will be able to take up to eight weeks of leave at up to 50 percent of their salaries.  These amounts will gradually increase until 2021 when they can take up to 12 weeks of leave at up to 67 percent of their salaries.

3) Am I eligible?

Most private-sector employees in New York State will be eligible for Paid Family Leave. If you are a public employee, your employer may opt into the program or you may be covered if Paid Family Leave is collectively bargained. Employees with a regular schedule of 20 or more hours per week are eligible after 26 weeks of employment. Employees with a regular schedule of less than 20 hours per week are eligible after 175 days worked.

4) Who can I care for while taking paid leave?

Paid family leave will be available for:

  • Caring for a close relative with a serious health condition, including a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent or grandchild
  • Maternity and paternity leave, whether you are a parent expecting, fostering or adopting a child
  • When a spouse, domestic partner, child or parent is on active military duty or has been notified of an impending call or order of active duty

5) Where can I get more information about Paid Family Leave and caregiving?

New York State has more information about the Paid Family Leave program at ny.gov/paidfamilyleave  The state’s Paid Family Leave toll-free helpline is available Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm ET, by calling (844) 337-6303.

Prepare to Care: A Resource Guide for Families was developed by AARP to help make the job more manageable. It includes information on how to have vital conversations with older family members, organize important documents, assess your loved one’s needs and locate important resources.

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