Spotlight on Paid Family Leave

On January 1st of 2018, New York put into place Paid Family Leave for employees that work for private employers and the choice for public employers to offer this benefit. If you have a new child, foster child, or loved one needing care due to military deployment or a health related issue, you are entitled to receiving paid compensation during your work leave. New York is one of only five states to have this plan currently in place; and its benefits are substantial.

Family relationships are debatably the most internally valuable thing we have in our lives. Protecting an individual’s financial security during a vulnerable time is crucial— the potential effects of having this benefit in place do not outweigh it’s social importance. By knowing that your own job and finances will not be on the line in case of a significant family emergency (which you had no control over) you will be able to immerse yourself in family unapologetically and without fear a personal financial crisis.

Time spent with family members and loved ones is something that you can’t get back— especially regarding ill or elderly members or precious time with a rapidly growing newborn child. For a new child, either just born or recently adopted/fostered, guardians are eligible for 8 weeks of Paid Family Leave. Information describing the conditions and family relationships eligible for Paid Family leave, as well as application process details can be found here.

In the future, New York state is currently looking into providing aid for a grieving period of up to twelve weeks following the death of a closely related loved one. Although debates of the financial effects this idea— similar to Paid Family Leave— are often brought up, the focus on mental health and family ties is a social cause worth fighting for. Money will come and go, but memories with loved ones will stay with you forever. Having the ability to care for someone during a time of need without the stress of your own financial deterioration is worthwhile and significant.