Paid time off (PTO) has always been one of the more controversial parts of employment law. It varies from business to business on how much they are willing to give it to workers and when they can receive it. Some people think certain businesses suffer from having too much of it available while others believe that some companies not having enough of it will have a negative effect on the worker’s health and personal life.

Most of New York’s lawmakers believe that there needs to be some changes to how PTO works in most workplaces. They have passed laws in recent years to benefit certain groups and may plan new regulations to affect more companies around the area. Workers need to be aware of these current and potentially upcoming laws and how it will affect their jobs.

Paid family leave

A couple years ago, the state of New York made some changes by beginning the new Paid Family Leave benefit. This four-year plan meant to improve the benefits for employees that have a new child or have to take care of a relative with serious health problems. In 2019, all benefits involved with the plan have increased.

The maximum amount of paid family leave has been extended from 8 to 10 weeks and the percentage of the average weekly wage is now 55 percent instead of 50. The state has also increased the employment contribution wage by over $20 and expanded upon the definition of “serious health condition” by including preparation and recovery from organ donations. By 2021, the state plans to have a maximum of 12 weeks of family leave and 67 percent of average weekly wages given.

Potential future changes

Recently, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his proposal to make New York City the first in the country to make PTO both public and private employers (barring private employers with less than five workers). The plan would require private workers to provide 10 days of PTO for the worker per year, which is unheard of as no other city in the nation requires private employers to do so.

The city council has not passed it yet, but it is already warranting mixed responses. Those who oppose it believe having mandatory PTO would hurt multiple businesses and make scheduling difficult, while supporters welcome the chance for workers to get some well-earned time off and could improve productivity and family lives.

Regardless if the bill ends up passing or not, these laws should serve as a reminder how quickly PTO laws can change in the state. Both employers and employees should check which laws have changed to see when the new year comes to see how their work lives and scheduling will change. Those still confused about the newer laws should seek assistance from an attorney with extensive employment law experience.