New Yorkers can now get paid family leave to care for siblings
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – For the first time in New York, people can get paid family leave to care for their brother or sister. For some reason, siblings weren’t considered family in New York, but today that’s one of the laws that changed.
Last year, Jean Wells in Irondequoit lost her brother John to a rapid illness. At the time, paid family leave did not include seriously ill siblings. Now it does.
Brean: How do you think it would have helped you with your brother?
Wells: I don’t know if it would have because it became so dire so quickly.
Wells: I think though if it had continued it, would have been a great relief to my nieces and nephew who work full time and all have three children each.
Dina Bakst, co-founder of A Better Balance said, “Too many workers with a sibling, is the only family they have when they’re facing a serious health issue.
Bakst was one of the advocates for including siblings in paid family leave.
When Governor Kathy Hochul signed the bill in November 2021, it expanded the definition of family members to include siblings. Biological siblings, adopted siblings, step-siblings, and half-siblings. The law says the siblings can live outside the state or even the country.
Bakst said, “At our organization, we see up close the difference these crucial protections make in ensuring workers, predominantly women and people of color in low-wage jobs, aren’t forced to choose between having a baby, or caring for a seriously ill loved one, and losing their jobs.
Wells said, “ Again, if you have that quandary of how I’m going to support my family, or I’m the second income, and I can go be with my sibling for however he needs my or she needs my assistance, let’s face it, a lot of it goes back to the money. You’re given the freedom to be able to care.”
You pay for paid family leave in your payroll taxes. You get up to 12 weeks, and the average weekly pay is more than a thousand dollars. That’s higher than the median salary in New York State.