All employers need to be aware of a new requirement beginning on January 1, 2018…the New York Paid Family Leave Law (PFL). The PFL effects any employer with one or more employees working in New York State and provides paid leave to employees who need to take care of a seriously ill family member, to bond with a newborn, adopted or foster child and for military exigency as defined by FMLA.
Note: Public employers are not required to offer this coverage but may opt in. Also, Paid Family Leave may be collectively bargained for public employees represented by a union.
The PFL includes the following as family members: Child(ren), Spouse, Parent, Grandparent, Grandchild(ren), Domestic Partner and In-Laws.
Eligible employees will receive benefits in 2018 amounting to 50% of their Average Weekly Wage (AWW) to a maximum of 50% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) for up to 8 weeks. Benefits will increase in subsequent years to 55% in 2019, 60% in 2020 and 67% in 2021.
Full-time employees are defined as working at least 20 hours per week over 26 consecutive weeks of employment. Part-time employees are those working less than 20 hours per week and are eligible on the 175th day of employment.
Employers will be required to continue health insurance coverage during the employees period of PFL and employees must continue to pay their share of the premium. If an employee fails to make premium payments coverage may be terminated after 30 days of non-payment. However, the employer must notify the employee 15 days in advance of coverage being terminated. This is extremely important as failure to continue health coverage as required would result in the employer being responsible to pay for all claims incurred by the employee. This could be very costly to an employer.
The cost for PFL may be collected through payroll deductions. The most an employer can collect from an employee is 0.126% of the employee’s weekly wage up to the annualized New York State Average Weekly Wage.
More information on the New York PFL can be found at ny.gov/paidfamilyleave, or by calling toll free at (844) 337-6303.