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New York State Mandatory Paid Family Leave

Mandatory Paid Family Leave will be here before we know it. Is your business ready to offer it to your employees?

 

On January 1, 2018, Paid Family Leave (PFL) becomes a mandatory benefit in New York, providing paid time off to employees to bond with a new child, care for a seriously sick family member, or address family matters due to a qualifying military exigency while their job is protected. PFL is a rider to your statutory short-term disability (DBL) policy – unless you self-fund DBL or your business is exempt.

An employer with employees working in New York for 30 or more days in a calendar year must obtain Paid Family Leave coverage. Family Leave is a benefit for people who work in New York; it does not matter where the employer is headquartered or where the employee lives.

Here are the top things to know about this new mandate:

  • It provides job security for employees out on PFL
  • It gradually increases benefit amounts and durations over next 4 years
  • Leaves can be taken in daily increments
  • 30 days advanced employer notice is required for foreseeable PFL
  • There is no “waiting period”  
  • If a qualifying event stretches over more than 52 consecutive weeks, a new request must be submitted before the next 52 week period begins
  • The benefit amount that is in effect at the time the leave began applies to the full duration of the PFL
  • Employee can’t take DBL and PFL at the same time • You cannot require employees to exhaust their accumulated PTO before letting them go out on PFL (unless it’s an approved FMLA leave)

There are 3 main categories Paid Family Leave can be taken for:

  • Provide care for a family member with a qualifying health condition
  • To bond with a child after birth, adoption or to welcome a child into foster care
  • Attend to family matters due to a military exigency leave event

An employer may not discriminate or retaliate against employees for taking or inquiring about Paid Family Leave.

Employers must ensure that their employees are aware of the Paid Family Leave program and that their policies comply with the law. Specifically, employers should:

  • Include Paid Family Leave information in their employee handbook, or similar employee materials; and
  • By January 1, 2018, display a poster regarding Paid Family Leave coverage in their place of business, similar to the poster required for Workers’ Compensation or Disability Benefits coverage. The employer’s’ insurance carrier will supply this poster.

How much does Paid Family Leave cost?

Paid Family Leave is typically referred to as an ‘employee-funded’ benefit, but it is up to you to decide if and how much to deduct from your employees’ payroll. The rate will be based on your employee’s’ wage and status.

In 2018, employees are eligible to receive 50% of their average weekly wage (AWW) up to 50% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) for up to 8 weeks.  When Paid Family Leave is fully phased in in 2021, the maximum benefits will increase to 67% of an employee’s AWW up to 67% of the SAWW for up to 12 weeks.

Paid Family Leave Benefit Schedule

Year Max Weeks Available Max % of Employee Average Weekly Wage Cap % of State Average Weekly Wage
2018 8 50% 50%
2019 10 55% 55%
2020 10 60% 60%
2021 12 67% 67%


For example, in 2018:

An employee who makes $1,000 a week would receive a benefit of $500 a week (50% of $1,000). Another employee who makes $2,000 a week would receive a benefit of $652.96, because this employee is capped at one-half of New York State’s Average Weekly Wage (NYSAWW) —currently $1,305.92. Half of that amount is the $652.96 benefit.

The Average Weekly Wage (AWW) is set every year by the New York State Department of Labor.   

Joyce Insurance Agency wants to make sure your company is taken care of when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. For over 20 years, we have been servicing Rockland County and surrounding area businesses with short term disability policies through some of the Nation’s largest carriers. We want to work with you and make sure you understand the mandate and have everything in place. for you and your employees.

Fill out the info below and let’s chat about Paid Family Leave Policies.