If your company offers paid parental leave to employees, it’s considered a generous, top-notch benefit that will no doubt help to separate you from the competition. But this perk could become standard in the near future.
That’s because New York recently joined California, New Jersey and Rhode Island in requiring paid time off for new parents.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) just signed a parental-leave policy into law as part of a state budget deal, a deal that’s also notable for raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The most generous law on the books
On top of being the fourth paid parental leave law, New York’s is far and away the most generous. When the law is fully in effect, it will compensate parents for up to 12 weeks of leave — twice what’s currently covered in the most generous states.
Beginning in 2018, the leave law will partially kick in and cover 50% of a worker’s average wages for up to eight weeks. Then, when it’s fully implemented, the leave policy will cover 67% of a worker’s average wages for up to 12 weeks.
California’s parental leave covers 55% of an employee’s wages for up to six weeks; New Jersey, up to about 67% for six weeks; and Rhode Island covers a portion of employees’ pay for up to four weeks, based on income. Each state’s program is funded through an employee-paid payroll deduction, and payouts are capped.
Like CA, NJ and RI, NY’s leave policy will be paid for by employee paycheck deductions — 70 cents per week for every employee.
The push for greater parental leave benefits in this country has been a hotly debated topic for some time now. The U.S. is the only developed country in the world that doesn’t require paid family leave, as well as the only high-income country that doesn’t mandate paid sick leave. The U.S. is also well behind similar economies in terms of vacation days (the average U.S. worker gets 10 vacation days, according to 2012 BLS statistics).