A bill sponsored by Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (S.2928-A) allowing family members to care for a sibling under Paid Family Leave was signed into law during a press conference on November 1, 2021.
“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, as well as my Leader Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins, 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.
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.
“Since the initial PFL bill was signed into law back in 2016, it has given single mothers, working parents and military personnel financial security and job protection dealing with a serious personal matter, while minimizing the negative effect on small businesses. Now siblings will be afforded the same benefit,” Addabbo concluded.
After being signed, this law will go into effect on January 1, 2023.