New York has now expanded the number of weeks of paid family leave, adding to a list of new measures that officially took effect in the state on January 1st.
The new measure now expands paid family leave from 10 to 12 weeks, allowing families to take extended time off to care for a newborn, a family member with a serious health condition such as COVID-19, or take care of other loved ones when another family member is on active military service. Under the new measure, employees can receive two-thirds of their weekly pay up to a maximum of $971.61 a week.
The amendment is part of the Paid Family Leave law Governor Andrew Cuomo signed in 2016, which gradually increased the number of weeks of extended time to care for a loved one over the last four years.
Expanded paid family leave is just one of several laws enacted on New Year's Day, including another measure that officially increases the minimum wage law in New York State to $12.50. In Long Island and Westchester counties, the rate goes up to $14. New York City already saw its minimum wage law increase to $15 in 2019 to keep up with the cost of living in the city.
New Yorkers who wish to operate a sailboat will now have to comply with Brianna's Law, which mandates anyone from New York State born after January 1st, 1988 take a boat safety course. The measure is named after Brianna Lieneck, an 11-year-old girl who died from a horrific boating accident in 2005 in Long Island.
Other safety measures in effect include a requirement that seatbelts must be installed in the front and rear of stretch limos. The measure—which also requires all stretch limos to be retrofitted with front and rear seatbelts by 2023—was inspired by a horrific car accident that killed 20 people in 2018 in Schoharie, NY. The law also requires more visible reminders on wearing seatbelts while on the road.
But not every measure takes effect immediately. Next month, any company that typically auto-renews contracts for customers must now give 15 days notice alerting them that their contract is up, giving them time to decide whether they want to continue with service. The law takes effect February 9th.
On February 15th, the Child Parents Security Act will take effect, allowing the "intended" parents of children born through sperm or egg donation, embryos, or surrogacy full parental rights that include medical decisions.
The new laws come ahead of the Albany Legislature convening for its 2021 session, with Democrats now holding a supermajority in both the Assembly and Senate.