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'Siblings' will count as family members under state's paid family leave law
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'Siblings' will count as family members under state's paid family leave law

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ALBANY – A change to a 2016 state law will add siblings to the list of family members who can be eligible for paid family leave benefits to care for someone with a serious illness.

The measure, which passed both houses earlier this year, was signed into law Monday by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

“Taking care of your family is a human right," Hochul said of the measure she signed that was authored by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef of Westchester County and State Sen. Joseph Addabbo of Queens.

The current definition of who counts as a “family member” for purposes of getting a portion of his or her salary paid during time off to care for a member of the family is limited to children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren and a spouse or domestic partner.

The state’s paid family leave law, which about 100,000 people use each year, provides up to 12 weeks of partial pay – depending on a worker’s salary with a maximum weekly amount of $1,068 in 2022. The program is employee-funded, but employers have certain obligations, including providing a waiver to eligible employees to take the time off.

In the Covid era, Addabbo said the paid family leave law has “more significant meaning now” than when it was first enacted in 2016.

“This is such an important addition to our paid family leave act, and I’m just proud to be a New Yorker, that we’re on the front lines of making things happen for families," Galef added.

The new provision takes effect Jan. 1, 2023. Its backers included AARP and the New York Civil Liberties Union.

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