New York Paid Family Leave Policy FAQs
New York’s Paid Family Leave Policy is one of the most comprehensive leave programs in the Nation. Paid Family Leave (PFL) provides more than just a monetary benefit — it provides job security for employees out on paid leave.
Paid Family Leave is set up as a rider to New York’s DBL program (statutory short-term disability insurance) and compliance to the program began in 2018. Complete PFL benefits are scheduled to be fully implemented by 2021.
Paid Benefits To Bond or Care For Others
The program is designed to provide job security for employees taking paid leave. Employees are guaranteed to be able to return to their job and continue their health insurance without filing for COBRA. Employees must pay their normal health insurance contributions at the same level they did prior to their paid leave
Under the newly expanded state law leave requirements, workers would be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid time off to care for:
- The birth or adoption of a child
- Serious health condition of a family member
- Qualified military emergency
Paid Family Leave will be funded entirely through employee payroll deductions so it will cost businesses – both large and small – nothing. Full time employees are eligible to participate after having worked for their employer for 26 weeks. Part-timers must have worked at least 175 days at their current employer; and their benefits are pro-rated proportionately based on hours worked.
New Support for Organ Donors.
January 2019, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to expand the Paid Family Leave Law’s definition of “serious health condition” to include preparation for and recovery from surgery related to organ or tissue donation.
This new legislation ensures that those who donate can be cared for by their eligible family members under New York Paid Family Leave. This law became effective February 3, 2019.
Top 10 Things Employers Need To Know About Paid Family Leave
1. For 2019 the maximum employee contribution is 0.153% of an employee’s weekly wage, up to a maximum of $2.07 per week or $107.97 per year.
2. In 2019, employees taking Paid Family Leave will receive 55% of their average weekly wage, up to a cap of 55% of the current Statewide Average Weekly Wage of $1,357.11. The maximum weekly benefit for 2019 is $746.41.
3. PFL becomes part of the Mandatory Short Term Disability (DBL) policy in the form of a rider and there will no longer be just DBL alone without PFL
4. Both DBL and PFL must be purchased from the same insurance carrier
5. Paid Family Leave premiums must be paid together with DBL. Since many employers pay their short term disability premiums “annually in advance,” employers may want to start collecting employee contributions now to partially pre-fund the 1/1/18 benefit
6. Employers can’t retroactively collect premium or withhold more than the maximum allowed employee contribution
7. PFL Law does not require employers to fund PFL, however, employers are obligated to remit premium whether employee deductions are collected or not
8. If premiums are collected from an employee and the employee leaves, the employer does not owe the departed employee a refund
9. If an employer is subject to FMLA (which applies to groups of 50 or more employees), they must coordinate PFL with FMLA
10. Employers must have a written, clearly defined Paid Family Leave Policy
Paid Family Leave Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s):
Q. Which employers will be affected?
The act applies to all private sector employers of one or more employees.
Q. How are family members defined?
A family member is defined as child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, spouse, or domestic partner.
Q. How long can an employee collect PFL benefits?
10 Weeks maximum in a consecutive 52-week period. Scheduled to increase to 12 weeks by 2021
Q. Can an employee collect short term disability (DBL) and paid family leave (PFL) at the same time?
No. If you qualify for both, you have to take them one at a time. Most often, this is the case with birth mothers (DBL for post-partum recovery and PFL for child bonding).
Q. How long must a person work at their current employer before being eligible for PFL benefits?
Full-time employees must be employed for 26 weeks and part-time must be employed for 175 days
Q. How will employee health insurance be treated during periods of the worker’s leave?
Employers must continue the employee’s health insurance during leave as if they were not on leave. Special rules also require employment reinstatement when the employee returns to work.
For more information about the NY Paid Family Leave Policy, feel free to contact our office: 914-633-1717