Paid family leave to support a seriously ill family member 3



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New York passed possibly one of the most comprehensive and useful family leave policies this week, and what makes it interesting is how far it goes beyond just maternity and paternity leave to allow you to take 12 weeks leave to support a dying or seriously ill loved one.     Is it time we talked about that as a universal requirement in our scheme too?

The program requires employers in the state to offer both men and women 12 weeks of paid time off for the birth, adoption or fostering of a child.  It also covers time off to care for a seriously ill family member.  It was passed in a trade off on their budget, on Thursday night.  No other state in America, nor Australia, has taken paid leave this far as to offer it for 12 weeks, and for the care of a dying family member.

The inclusion of support for someone losing a loved one is a fascinating remit for the policy and comes after the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo wen through a spate of family deaths including his father dying and his partner being diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Life is such a precious gift and I have kicked myself every day that I didn’t spend more time with my father at that end period,” Cuomo said at his state address on the policy.

The state will fund the paid leave in a similar way to that funded by the Australian Government.  The program, which will begin in 2021 will cost employers nothing, and be drawn from nominal weekly paycheck deductions that the state will make to all people of approximately $1.  Workers can then take up to 67% of their weekly salary (capped at 67% of the statewide weekly wage) for the full 12 weeks.

In Australia, the parental leave pay scheme provides eligible parents with up to 18 weeks’ of Parental Leave Pay at the National Minimum Wage. The amount is currently $657 per week before tax (correct as of March 2016).  What it does not do is allow for the scheme to be accessed by those losing a loved one or helping a family member through a serious illness.

Do you think we should push for this in Australia and in other states, where you are?

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. Absolutely. The time spent with a loved one during their final days before death is so precious. Employers need to understand their support at a very difficult time will make loyal employees. Didn’t happen for me. My elderly relatives are no longer with us. I certainly would have been grateful for better understanding at tge time,

  2. What a great idea
    I could have used this when both my parents died of cancer
    I still beat myself up because i couldnt spend enough time with them because i had to work

  3. Absolutely…if ever there was a need this is so the one…I work in aged care and to hear loved ones saying they can’t make a visit because of work commitments is awfull…the dying need their loves ones there at the end…I see so many die on their own…it’s terribly upsetting all round…should never be….

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