Addabbo bill to include siblings under paid family leave passed by both houses

A bill sponsored by Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (S.2928-A) allowing family members to care for a sibling under Paid Family Leave passed the State Assembly on June 9, two months to the day after approval by the Senate.

“If this past year has taught us anything, it is that we must recognize the needs of all individuals, especially during life's most challenging periods,” Addabbo said. “Many siblings share a strong bond, and for some single individuals, a sibling may be the only surviving family member that they have. Adding "sibling" to the definition of "family member" for the purpose of Paid Family Leave is simply common sense. I'm thankful my Senate and Assembly colleagues helped get this bill approved before the end of this legislative session," added Addabbo.

The 2016 Paid Family Leave proposal initially included siblings, but they were cut out in the final enacted deal. 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 serious health conditions. 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.

If approved by Governor Cuomo, this would change and the sibling would be included in the PFL benefits.

Employee contributions made through paycheck deductions cover 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.

Now that the legislation has cleared both houses of the Legislature, the next stop for the proposal is Governor Cuomo’s desk for final consideration.