Steven Mitchell Sack Says Extended Family Leave to Care for Seriously Ill Siblings Provides More Work-Life Balance

Effective January 1, 2023, employees in New York State will be allowed to take extended leave to care for siblings who are seriously ill. Steven Mitchell Sack, “The Employee’s Lawyer,” says this new law will help those focus their time on caring for a loved one without having to worry about losing their jobs.

On November 1, 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law two bills sponsored by New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. and state Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, that will allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave to care for a sibling — whether related by blood or through marriage — half-sibling or adopted sibling who is suffering from serious health problems.

This builds upon the existing Paid Family Leave law that went into effect in 2018, which allowed employees to take an extended period of time off to bond with a newborn, adopted or fostered child, care for a loved one who is seriously ill or look after family members when a loved one is deployed overseas for military service. As with the previous law, workers can take up to 12 weeks off at 67% of their pay. However, at the time, the legislation did not include caring for siblings.

“It is only right that the Paid Family Leave law be expanded to cover care for a sick brother or sister,” Mr. Sack says. “By expanding this much-needed legislation, employees will have that work-life balance and not have to worry about their job while caring for a loved one who is seriously ill. If you believe you might be unable to get the needed time off without risking the loss of your job, contact an employment law attorney immediately.”

Mr. Sack has been an employment attorney for more than 40 years. He is known for successfully representing a group of waiters in Samiento v. World Yacht Inc. The landmark New York Court of Appeals decision made it more difficult for restaurants and caterers to keep gratuities intended for their wait staff. He is the author of The Employee Rights Handbook, which has been called a “first-aid kit” for current and prospective employees, giving them the information they need to understand their job rights and protect and assert themselves to collect what is due; telling his readers and clients that “every firing is negotiable.” He served as plaintiffs’ counsel on behalf of three women who were wrongfully terminated when their employer discovered they were pregnant. A Bronx Supreme Court jury awarded the plaintiffs $6.2 million.

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