Addabbo bill to include siblings under paid family leave passes Senate

The Senate passed S.2928-A, sponsored by Senator Joe Addabbo, allowing family members to care for a sibling under Paid Family Leave. The 2016 Paid Family Leave proposal initially included siblings but they were cut out in the final enacted deal.

“The adage ‘you can always count on family’ applies during good times and bad, in sickness and health," said Addabbo. “Many siblings share a strong bond, and for many single individuals, a sibling may be the only surviving family member that they have. Therefore, adding "sibling" to the definition of "family member" for the purpose of Paid Family Leave is simply common sense.”

Currently, New York’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) defines family members more broadly than the federal Family Medical Leave Act and will allow employees to take paid leave to care for family members with a serious health condition. However, a family member is defined as a spouse, child, parent, domestic partner, parent-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild. Siblings are not included in this definition. This means that an employee can’t take paid leave to care for a sibling. It doesn’t matter if the sibling is terminally ill and doesn’t have a spouse, child, parent, or someone else to provide care. The only exception to the no sibling rule is if the sibling had been acting as a parent to the employee, or the employee has been acting as a parent to the sibling.

Employee contributions through paycheck deductions fund the entire cost of Paid Family Leave. Every year the employee contribution rate is set according to the cost of insurance coverage, and employers use the employee contributions to pay the insurance premiums.

As the sponsor of this common-sense legislation, Senator Addabbo is hopeful the bill will be approved by the Assembly during the 2021 legislative session and signed into law.