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New York Paid Family Leave: The Basics

New York Paid Family Leave: The Basics

Come January of 2018, private employers in the state of New York will have to comply with the new Paid Family Leave law.

California, Rhode Island and New Jersey all have a Paid Family Leave benefit, but once fully rolled out, New York’s law is being considered as the nation’s strongest and most comprehensive Paid Family Leave policy.

Here are the basics.

Paid Family Leave allows your employees to take time off for the following reasons:

  • The birth or adoption of a child.
  • To care for a close relative with a serious medical condition.
  • Raise a family while a spouse is deployed for active military service.

During this time, employees are to receive a percentage of their average weekly wage, but limited to an equal percentage of the state’s average weekly wage. Under the law, employees will also maintain health insurance benefits and are assured of reinstatement when their leave ends.

To comply:

An employee must work in New York. An employee who occasionally visits New York for work will not qualify. An employee who lives in New York but works outside of New York will not qualify. So any employer who has an employee in New York has to comply.

Phases.

The state is phasing out the new law over four years. Here’s how that will look.

  • Jan. 1, 2018: Eight weeks of leave 50 percent of employee’s average weekly wage, up to 50 percent of state average weekly wage.
  • Jan. 1, 2019: Ten weeks of leave, 55 percent of employee’s average weekly wage, up to 50 percent of state average weekly wage.
  • Jan. 1, 2020: Ten weeks of leave, 60 percent of employee’s average weekly wage, up to 60 percent of state average weekly wage.
  • Jan. 1, 2021: Twelve weeks of leave, 67 percent of employee’s average weekly wage, up to 67 percent of state average weekly wage.

When are employees eligible?

Employees are eligible for leave after 26 weeks on the job (for those working 20 or more hours per week) or 175 days (for those who work less than 20 hours). Note that employers may require employees to continue contributing toward their company’s health insurance plan while on leave.

Employee actions.

If an employee needs to request Paid Family Leave, they are asked to give 30 days’ notice to their employer, if possible. According to NY.gov, employees don’t have to take all of their sick leave and/or vacation before using paid leave.

Employer actions.

Employers are required to give a claim form to the employee, or give the employee information on obtaining a form from the company’s insurer (which pays for the Paid Family Leave) or on the Paid Family Leave website. Important information, like the dates the employee will be out of work and how much his or her pay will be, should be passed along to insurers.

In addition, written guidance for all employees should be provided; this must go in the employee handbook. Similar to other Labor Law posters, all employers are required to display the notice about Paid Family Leave.

Coverage.

According to Law.com, the majority of insurance carriers include Paid Family Leave as part of their disability insurance policy packages. Therefore, some employers may realize they’re already covered. If not covered, employers will have to absorb that increase to their monthly premium payments for the additional coverage. famil

Employers are able to authorize a small payroll deduction to cover additional costs, however it can be no more than 0.126 percent of the employee’s weekly wage. It’s capped at 0.126 percent of the state’s average weekly wage. PrimePay’s payroll system is set up to handle this.

Resources.

As always, if you’re an employer with employees in New York, it’s best to turn to a trusted advisor to help you ensure compliance. While we only touched on the basics in this article, if you visit NY.gov, you’ll find a full bank of resources from what you need to do as an employer and information you can share with employees. Click here to get to the website.

Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may be applicable to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion.  Consult your own legal advisor regarding specific application of the information to your own plan.