New York State just made a major investment in the people working and living there. Starting this month, employees in the public sector will be getting up to eight weeks paid benefits for family leave if they request it from their employer. While, in the past, there has been no legal mandate in the state to ensure that employees get paid for time off, the new opt-in plan covers anyone in the state working set hours over the course of the year.

Rolling out now and through 2021, full-time employees working more than 20 hours a week for 26 consecutive weeks, or part-time employees working less than 20 hours over 175 non-consecutive days throughout the year, are eligible to receive eight weeks paid leave to bond with a baby or adopted child, care for a sick loved one, or help out if a family member has been deployed overseas. By 2021, when the rollout is complete, employees will be entitled to a full 12 weeks paid. Employees in 2018 are eligible for up to 50 percent of their weekly pay up to $652.96, with benefits increasing to 67 percent by 2021.

Besides not having to worry about finances in case of a need to leave work for a time, one of the biggest benefits to the new law is that employees cannot lose their jobs for taking time off. Although you will need to fill out request forms, preferably up to 30 days in advance of your leave, on the plus side, you can take the days in any combination that works for you, including in conjunction with other paid and unpaid leaves already provided by your employer. One caveat, though — anyone currently on disability is not entitled to also take paid family leave.

New York is the most recent in a series of states that have opted into offering a government scheme to ensure that citizens get necessary time off from work without penalty. California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island have all been rolling out similar initiatives, with Cali taking the lead back in 2004.

Do you get paid family leave through your work or state? Tell us @BritandCo

(Photo via Getty)