What leaves are permitted for family members?

Taking family leaves is a right that employees have through both federal and New York State laws.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Based on federal law, employers with 50 employees, who worked for 20 weeks in the current or previous year must comply with the Family Medical Leave Act.

If you have worked for the same company for a minimum of 12 months and have worked for 1,250 hours during those months, you have the right to take a family medical leave.

The FMLA covers serious illness or health conditions for the employee or for an employee taking care of a seriously ill family member. Employees can also use the leave for spending time with a newborn or adopted child. Leaves can last up to 12 weeks. In addition, the family leave can assist a family member in the military, when suffering from severe injury in the line of duty. This type of leave can extend up to 26 weeks. You can also use a family leave to handle qualifying circumstances arising from a family member’s active military service.

The FMLA does not require employers to pay for the leave. However, if the employee wants to substitute acquired sick leave time, personal time or vacation time for the leave, they may often do so. In fact, some employers require employees to do this.

New York Paid Family Leave

New York State has its own law that also grants employees’ rights for paid family leaves. If you have held the same job for 26 weeks, this law applies to you. It covers taking time for:

  • Caring for a new child
  • Handling issues due to a family member’s military duty or deployment
  • Taking care of a family member with a serious health condition or illness

The leave enables you to take up to three months off work and to receive 67% of your standard wages.

Adoption Leave

Employers who offer leaves for biological children must also provide leaves for adoptions of a younger child or preschool age child. In addition, if the child has a disability, employers must grant a leave for a child up to the age of 18.

Military Family Leave

When your spouse is engaged in active service in a foreign country or has received notification of a call or order for active service, you can take a paid family leave. Qualifying reasons are the same as under the FMLA. Reasons may include:

  • Short-notice military deployment
  • Military events, including official ceremonies or informational briefings related to active duty
  • Rest, recuperation or counseling for the military member
  • Post-deployment activities, such as ceremonies or reintegration events
  • Arranging financial or legal matters
  • Making child care provisions for the military member’s child

The leave applies to spouses, domestic partners, children or parents.

Leaves can last up to 12 weeks. Pay received for the family leave is at 67 percent of your pay. (Caps apply.)

(References: NY Employment Law Handbook, Military Family Support Leave)

Do you need assistance protecting your rights to a family-related leave?

The Law Office of Peter A. Romero assists clients with employment law and discrimination issues. Clients throughout NYC, including in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Harlem/Upper Manhattan turn to us for legal help. Call us at (631) 257-5588 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.