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What Is The Paid Family Leave Act?

If you or your loved ones have a severe medical emergency, you may need to request some time away from work. However, handling the situation can take longer than your company’s sick or personal leave. In that case, is there anything you can do to take care of your family member’s medical needs without losing your job?

New York’s Paid Family Leave Act (PFLA) can help you in instances like these. Paid Family Leave allows you to take a leave of absence and keeps your job from being terminated if you meet certain legal conditions. When you file, it’s crucial to understand the details of the law and your rights. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn how this law can help you take an extended medical leave without any repercussions.

How Does The Paid Family Leave Act Work?

Enacted in 2016, The Paid Family Leave Act (PFLA) gives you up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave within 52 weeks. Most private and public employers who opted into the programs are legally required to grant an employee paid leave. Unlike the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the PFLA guarantees paid leave of up to 67% of an employee’s weekly salary. However, there is a benefit cap of $1,068.36, the average weekly wage in the state.

How Can You Qualify For The PFLA?

To be eligible, you must either work for a company for at least 26 weeks if working over 20 hours or at least 175 days if working fewer than 20 hours. You must also notify your employer at least 30 days before your paid leave or as soon as possible. Here are the three main reasons you can qualify for a leave of absence:

Bonding Leave

If you just had a baby, became a foster parent, or adopted a child, you can take up to 12 weeks of paid leave under the PFLA to spend time with them. To qualify under this clause, you must show your employer proper documentation of the event. This proof can include a birth certificate, written confirmation of pregnancy from a medical professional, foster placement, adoption documents, or any other relevant evidence that proves your link to the child.

Taking Care Of A Family Member

When a close family member gets sick, you may have to assume additional responsibilities to ensure their well-being. If this is your situation, you are also eligible for paid leave of absence, so long as you can prove that your loved one has a severe illness.

According to New York law, a serious illness requires inpatient care or constant medical supervision by a licensed healthcare professional. Along with your request form, you need to provide your employer with Form PFL-3 and Form PFL-4. Form PFL-3 authorizes the medical provider to release your loved one’s information about their health condition, while Form PFL-4 mainly provides the employer and insurance carrier with the doctor’s credentials.

Military Family Paid Leave

If your spouse, partner, child, parent are away on active duty, there are instances where you may need to take care of family affairs outside of work when your loved one is abroad. The PFLA can also provide paid leave if you need time away from work. All you need to do is prove your loved one’s military service. This proof can be previous active duty orders, a letter from their military unit indicating that they will be called to duty, or Rest and Recuperation paperwork signed by the appropriate military authority.

Can You Be Forced To Resign For Using PFLA?

Besides paid leave, the PFLA offers comprehensive benefits during your time away from work, such as continuity of employment, health insurance during your absence, and discrimination protections. Your employer is legally obliged to keep your job position open, provide you with the same health benefits, and make your transition back to work as smooth as possible.

Suppose your employer discriminates against you, lowers your pay, or does anything else to punish you for taking Paid Family Leave. In that case, you can file a request to be reinstated to your former position. If that doesn’t work, you would need to file a claim and settle the dispute with your employer in court.

Our Attorneys Are Here To Help

If you need to use Paid Family Leave to care for your loved ones, know that you are fully protected by New York law. As long as you provide the proper documentation to your employer, you should not encounter any problems.

Have you experienced discrimination or unfair treatment from your employer because of your Paid Family Leave? Our New York workers’ compensation lawyers at Turley, Redmond, and Rosasco will help ensure your rights are protected. Call us at 855-208-7783 or use our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation today. We serve Long Island, Queens, and the NYC area.

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