New York’s Latest Employee Paid Benefit Program
New York State Paid Family Leave (PFL) is an employee paid benefit that went into effect January 1, 2018, providing eight weeks (increasing to 12 weeks by 2021) of job-protected, paid leave within any 52-week period to address family related issues. The program provides wage replacement to employees to help them bond with a child, care for a relative with a serious health condition, or help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service.
Employee benefits will phase in over four years. The benefit is a percentage of the employee’s average weekly wage, capped at the same percentage of the state’s average weekly wage. For example, for 2018, the benefit is 50% of the employee’s or state’s average weekly wage, whichever is lower.
On the state level, New York becomes the fifth state (joining California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Washington) to pass a law granting eligible male and female employees paid family leave. But New York’s is most comprehensive and generous paid family leave program in the nation, meaning it is also the most complicated.
That is why if you haven’t already performed a thorough and rigorous review of your business’ current policies and practices, we suggest you do so immediately. Creating new comprehensive policies will ensure full compliance with the law’s requirements, including the leave of absence and job reinstatement provisions, and help mitigate your employment practices liability.
NYS Paid Family Leave: What is It?
New York’s Paid Family Leave is one of the most comprehensive family leave programs in the nation. Here are the top 10 things to know about this new mandatory benefit:
- Paid Family Leave provides more than just a monetary benefit; it provides job security for employees out on paid leave, similar to unpaid leave under FMLA, but regardless of the size of the employer.
- Paid Family Leave will be implemented as a rider (addition) to DBL (NY’s statutory short-term disability).
- All New York “covered employers” (typically private sector employers with at least 1 employee who have to provide DBL), also have to provide PFL. As such, it covers all those employees who currently get DBL through their employment.
- Employers that are exempt from DBL and occupations/employees who are excluded from DBL are also exempt/excluded from PFL – but the employer can obtain voluntary coverage for them.
- Paid leave can be taken in daily increments, and – unlike Workers’ Comp – in intermittent intervals, such as every other Monday.
- To qualify for Paid Family Leave, employees working 20+ hours per week must have been employed at least 26 consecutive weeks at their current employer; and employees working less than 20 hours per week must have completed at least 175 work days at their current employer.
- There is no “waiting period.”
- A 30-days employer notice are required for foreseeable leave. If this is not possible due to the circumstances (such as an accident or heart attack), the notification needs to happen as soon as practicable.
- You can’t take DBL and PFL at the same time, i.e., receive benefits for both concurrently. They have to be taken in sequence. And if an employee qualifies for both, the combined duration cannot not exceed 26 weeks in a consecutive 52-week period.
- Employers can’t require employees to exhaust their accumulated paid time off before letting them go out on paid family leave.
We at SDI are here to help you and guide you on any Paid Family Leave-related matters. We are your business, home, auto, and life insurance solutions provider and partner, serving Warwick, Greenwood Lake, Florida, Pine Island, Goshen, Middletown, Chester, Monroe, Newburgh, Orange County, and the Hudson Valley and Tri-State Area. Please contact us at 845-986-1177 if you have any questions.
Read more about all things NYS PFL at Shelter Point Group’s blog page.