Governor Cuomo trumpets what he calls the nation's strongest, most comprehensive family leave law that goes into effect tomorrow. As NY1's Gene Apodaca tells us, it's one of three programs the Governor hopes helps ease the burden on the middle class.

Working and going to school fulltime, Brooklyn resident Leslie Chico says she has one regret in 2017. That she wasn’t able to be there more when her mom broke her ankle last year.  

 "I couldn’t get to see her that often because I was in school and everything," Chico said. "I really wish I could have spent more time with her"

That conflict may be easing for thousands of New Yorkers.  

In 2018, the new Paid Family Leave policy goes into effect.

Employees who work for private companies are able to take paid time off to be there for loved ones.

·         The program covers parents who want time off to bond with their new born children,

·         Those caring for a close relative with a serious illness,

·         Or those assisting a family member who is deployed abroad or on active duty.

"When you look back, what are the moments that matter?" Cuomo asked. "When the child is born, when people get married, who is there for you when you’re sick."

In 2018, employees are eligible for up to 8 weeks paid time off, making 50 percent their average weekly wage.  

Each year until 2021, the benefit increases eventually allowing up to 12 weeks off, with employees collecting 67 percent of their average weekly wage.

"Part in part, that’s at least something that you’re getting compared to not getting anything at all," Chico said.

"The program is available for fulltime employees who have worked 26 consecutive weeks or part time employees after working 175 days."

The Paid Family Leave policy is just one of three programs Governor Cuomo says will help the middle class this New Year.  

Also included, a middle class tax cut,  a 1 percent cut for people making up to $150,000 a year.

The state minimum wage is also increasing to $13 an hour. The second increase towards a statewide $15 an hour the following year.

"This is not voluntary. We are not asking employers to do this. We’re not saying it would be nice if you cooperated. We’re saying it is the law and it will be enforced."

To learn more about these programs head visit the state's website.