Posted by Lucille Southard
Beginning January 1, 2018, all private employers will be required to participate in the New York State Paid Family Leave (NYS PFL) benefit law, which is meant to provide paid leave for employees in certain situations. NYS PFL goes beyond what is required under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) with regard to protections and payments, and thereby imposes new family leave obligations on New York employers.
NYS PFL will provide eligible employees (both full- and part-time) with up to eight weeks (and up to 12 weeks when fully implemented by 2020) of paid family leave annually to care for an infant (or newly-adopted or fostered child – including those born or placed for adoption prior to January 1, 2018), a family member with a serious health condition (including a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild), or to assist with family obligations when a family member is called to active duty. Note: NYS PFL is not available for prenatal conditions or an employee with serious health conditions.
Employers subject to NYS PFL
NYS PFL applies to all private employers with at least one employee in New York State. This includes out-of-state employers that have one or more employees working in New York (e.g., those working remotely). Public employers are generally exempt from NYS PFL.
Employees entitled to NYS PFL
Full-time employees who have been employed for at least 26 weeks are eligible, while part-time employees (defined as those scheduled to work fewer than 20 hours per week) must work at least 175 days to be eligible. Those requirements apply regardless of the number of hours per week actually worked and regardless of the employer’s size. Note: Both non-U.S. citizens and undocumented employees who otherwise meet eligibility requirements are eligible for NYS PFL. Employees working fewer than 26 weeks or 175 days in a consecutive 52-week period (e.g., short-term or seasonal employees) may file an NYS PFL waiver, in which case the NYS PFL payroll contribution deductions will be waived (as would the employer’s responsibility to provide benefits to that employee).
NYS PFL will be completely funded through employee payroll deductions.
- Covered employers are required to carry NYS PFL insurance or comply with the requirements to self-insure by January 1, 2018. We strongly recommend that you contact your NYS Disability Insurance carrier regarding adding an NYS FPL rider to your current disability policy as soon as possible. This policy should be effective by January 1, 2018.
- The maximum employee contribution for coverage beginning January 1, 2018 will be 0.126% of an employee’s weekly wage up to and not to exceed the statewide average weekly rate, which is currently set at $1,305.92. For employees who earn more than $1,305.92 per week, the NYS PFL deduction will be capped at $1.65 per week ($1,305.92 x 0.126%). The deduction percentages and caps may change annually – the deduction percentage may change on January 1; the cap may change on July 1.
- NYS PFL insurance coverage is designed to be funded through employee payroll deductions; however, employers may choose to cover the premium payments and not deduct contributions from employees. The number of weeks of leave available to eligible employees under the NYS PFL and the benefits paid will be phased in over several years. The phase-in schedule is:
This is a summary of the PFL. As of today, New York has not finalized the regulations regarding PFL. The final regulations are expected to be placed into effect within the next several weeks. As soon as we have additional information, we will forward it to you.
If you have any questions regarding NYS PFL, please contact your disability insurance company or the New York State website: https://www.ny.gov/programs/new-york-state-paid-family-leave.