New York’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) defines family members more broadly than the federal Family Medical Leave Act and will allow employees to take paid leave to care for family members with a serious health condition. A family member is a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild.
Siblings are not included in this definition.
This means that, generally, an employee can’t take paid leave to care for a sibling. It doesn’t matter if the sibling is deathly ill and doesn’t have have a spouse, child, parent, or someone else to provide care. The only exception to the no sibling rule is if the ill sibling had been in loco parentis with the employee. What this means is that either the sibling has acted like a parent to the employee, or your employee has been like a parent to the sibling.
Ultimately, it’s the PFL insurance carrier that either will approve or deny the leave; however it makes sense for employers to consider these nuances as well. Make sure your employment policies are updated before PFL becomes effective on January 1, 2018.