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Want Half-Decent, Guaranteed Paid Family Leave? Move To New York

On the last day of March, New York passed the strongest paid family leave law in the country, and it wasn’t an April Fool’s Day joke. The state is the fifth to mandate paid leave, joining the ranks of California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington. But just like everything in NYC, the bill is more aggressive than what you’ll find in the rest of the country: Parents — mother and fathers — get 12 weeks of paid leave to welcome the birth, adoption, or fostering of a new kid. Presumably this doesn’t improve Ted Cruz’s opinion of the place.

The new law bests California by a full 6 weeks, and bests the federal Family Medical Leave Act by just about every measure imaginable. FMLA is only mandatory for businesses over 50 employees, only available to employees who have worked 1,250 hours over the last year, and doesn’t require employers to pay employees a dime — they just can’t fire you. The New York law will be phased in between 2018 and 2021, but will eventually cover two thirds of employees’ pay. While this still leaves workers in New York way behind workers in other countries, like the U.K. (40 weeks) or, say, Poland (26 weeks), it makes the best case for moving there from another state since pizza was invented.



If you’re a New Yorker who’s afraid this will make your boss hate you, take heart: In California, where paid leave has been mandated for the last decade, 93 percent of employers report positive or neutral effects on employee turnover, 91 percent report positive or neutral effects on profitability or performance, and 98 percent report positive or neutral effects on employee morale. And if you live any of the 45 states where paid family leave remains a Scandinavian fairy tale, also take heart: New York has a way of imposing its will on the rest of the nation (or have you not noticed who’s leading the presidential primaries?).

[H/T] The Cut