As you may have heard, the 2016-2017 New York State Budget includes legislation enabling the richest Paid Family Leave benefit in the nation. Here’s what you need to know…
What is Paid Family Leave (PFL)?
New York State has adopted the richest Paid Family Leave in the United States effective January 2018. Employees will be eligible for paid time off to care for a new child or sick family member.
Who has to offer it?
It applies to all private sector employers with at least 1 employee (not counting the owner)
What can it be used for?
Leave may be taken to participate in providing care, such as physical or psychological care for a family member, to bond with the employee’s child during the first twelve months after the child’s birth, or the first 12 months after the placement of the child for adoption or foster care or for a qualified military exigency as defined by the FMLA.
How does it differ from FMLA?
FMLA, the Family and Medical Leave Act, is an unpaid federal program that provides job security during an employee’s approved family/medical-related leave for up to 12 weeks. FMLA only applies to employers with 50+ employees. FMLA does not provide a monetary benefit whereas PFL does.
How much does it pay?
• J anuary 1, 2018; up to 8 weeks of paid leave at 50% of the employee’s average weekly wage capped at a maximum of 50% of NY average weekly wage;
• J anuary 1, 2019; up to 10 weeks of paid leave at 55% of the employee’s average weekly wage capped at a maximum of 55% of NY average weekly wage;
• J anuary 1, 2020; up to 10 weeks of paid leave at 60% of the employee’s average weekly wage capped at a maximum of 60% of NY average weekly wage;
• J anuary 1, 2021 and thereafter; up to 12 weeks of paid leave at 67% of the employee’s average weekly wage capped at a maximum of 67% of NY weekly wage.
How does it relate to the New York State “DBL” Disability Benefits Law?
• PFL will be covered under an employer’s DBL policy.
• DBL and PFL benefits cannot be collected at the same time.
• Combined, DBL and PFL have to stay within the 26-week benefit max during any 52 consecutive calendar weeks.
What information is available for employers so far?
• You sign your business up for PFL insurance as part of your DBL (statutory short-term disability) coverage (if you are self-insured you can get stand-alone PFL insurance)
• You will have to cover all eligible employees, while the full cost of premiums will be paid through payroll contributions of the employee. (You may choose to share in the premiums with your employees.)
• You must continue the employees’ health insurance during leave as if they were not on leave.
• You may offer an employee who has accrued but unused vacation/personal leave the ability to choose whether to charge all or part of the PFL time to this unused time and receive full salary.
• Employees returning from PFL are entitled to return to their same or comparable position without loss of benefits they would have accrued otherwise.
What information is available for employees so far?
• You must be employed for 26 weeks before you are eligible for PFL (175 days for part-timers);
• If possible, you should provide 30-days’ notice of intent to take PFL;
• PFL benefits must be used concurrently with FMLA.
• When returning from PFL, you are entitled to return to their same or comparable position without loss of benefits you would have accrued otherwise;
• Your employer provides the coverage, you pay for the coverage:
• Your PFL claims will be paid for by your DBL (statutory short-term disability) insurance carrier, under which the employer will have to have to cover all eligible employees, while the full cost of premiums will be paid through payroll contributions of the employee. (Your employer may choose to share the premiums with you.)