What Can It Be Used For?

There are 3 main categories of qualifying events an employee can take paid leave for:

  1. Providing care for a family member with a serious health condition

    1. The common cold or taking off for general doctor visits don’t qualify – the person being cared for must meet the definition of a “serious health condition.”

  2. Bonding leave after giving birth, adoption, or welcoming a child into foster care

    1. An employee may seek family leave benefits during the first 12 months after the child’s birth, adoption, or foster placement even if that event occurred in 2017.

    2. An employee may take paid leave even for events leading up to adoption, such as travel to another country to complete an adoption.

  3. Qualifying military exigency

    1. An employee can take paid leave if their family member (spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent) is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or to active duty.

 

PFL Benefit Amount & Duration 
PFL benefits phase in over 4 years with gradually increasing benefit amount and duration as follows:

Benefit Stage Effective Date*

Maximum Length of Paid Leave**

Maximum Benefit Amount***

Payable % of Employee’s Average Weekly Wage (AWW)

To the Maximum % of NY Average Weekly Wage
(NYSAWW)

$ Max based on current NYSAWW  of $1,305.92***

01/01/2018

8 weeks

50%

50%

$653

01/01/2019

10 weeks

55%

55%

$718

01/01/2020

10 weeks

60%

60%

$784

01/01/2021

12 weeks

67%

67%

$875


 

This chart is for leave taken in weekly increments. Leave taken in daily increments is based on the average number of days worked per week during the last 8 weeks before taking leave.

*While this the anticipated phase-in schedule, New York State may delay implementation at its discretion.
** Total for all qualifying events per 52-week period from the first day of paid leave (and regardless of requalifying at a new employer during that period).
***NY Department of Labor releases the updated NYSAWW every March 31.

The benefit amount that is in effect at the time the leave began applies to the full duration of the paid leave for that event, even if a new calendar year with increased benefit levels falls within that period.
 

How Much does it cost?

The Paid Family Leave rate is set by NY State and can be adjusted on an annual basis effective every January 1. The 2018 rate had to be set by June 1, 2017. Thereafter, updated rates are set and announced by NY State by September 1 of each year for the following calendar year.

There is no fixed rate as it is based on the employee’s salary. The 2018 weekly contribution for Paid Family Leave is 0.126% of an employee’s weekly wage capped at current NYSAWW of $1,305.92 = 67,907.84 per year**.

.
This translates into a 2018 maximum contribution of $1.65/week (averaged over the year) for employees earning NYSAWW or above.

*NY Department of Labor releases the updated statewide AWW every March 31.


Employers must pay the premium for their entire group whether they withhold from employees or not. Employers that take contributions from employees,

  • can start payroll deductions as early as July 1, 2017
  • but they cannot take deductions retro-actively or collect more than the allowable maximum contribution for Paid Family Leave .

 

Business Impact

Here are the top 10 things employers should know to stay compliant:

  1. Since the PFL rate is based on each employee’s wage/salary, this may add to the complexity of current payroll tracking/administration.
    PFL Expert Tip: Start looking for solutions to reduce the added burden.
  2. Employers must add PFL to their written guidance for employees concerning employee benefits or leave rights, such as in an employee handbook.
    PFL Expert Tip:  Even if an employer doesn’t have written manuals, it will still have to create written guidance on PFL, including information on how to file a claim for paid family leave.
  3. Just like with DBL, employers will have to display and keep posted a printed notice concerning Paid Family Leave as published by NY State later this year.
  4. All employees who are currently covered under DBL will be covered under (and thereby have the right to take) PFL effective 01/01/2018. This means, some employees could be out as early as the very first day of next year!
  5. Paid Family Leave provides job security for employees out on paid leave, similar to unpaid leave under FMLA, but regardless of the size of the employer.
  6. If an employer declines to reinstate an employee returning from PFL, the employee may report that employer to NY State. They then have 30 days to either take corrective action or file a formal response to the employee.
  7. 5.Employees will need to give 30 days’ notice for foreseeable leave. This means, employers could start receiving notices by 12/01 of this year.
  8. Paid Family Leave benefits phase in over 4 years with gradually increasing benefit amount and duration, so everyone – brokers, employers, and employees – will need to stay on top of annual changes.
  9. Since paid leave can be taken in daily increments/intermittent intervals (such as every other Monday), absence management may become more complex. This may be overwhelming for employers who are not subject to FMLA, as FMLA already requires granular absence management capabilities.  
    PFL Expert Tip: Start look into solutions to keep track of intermittent leave efficiently. 
  10. Employers cannot require employees to exhaust their accumulated PTO before letting them go out on paid family leave.

Find more details on our employer page here.

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Employee Benefits of PFL

Designed with the health of families and communities in mind, Paid Family Leave is intended to not only enhance employees’ job security, but give them greater peace of mind when it comes to balancing work and family obligations overall. To achieve this goal, workers in New York will be able to take advantage of enhanced leave policies beginning 2018. Over the next 4 years, the Paid Family Leave benefit is scheduled to increase every January 1 in accordance with the phase-in schedule above.

What does this actually mean for you?

In 2018, the weekly benefit is 50% of an employee’s “average weekly wage” (AWW) capped at 50% of NY State’s AWW. That means, for someone earning more than NY’s current AWW of $1,305.92 the maximum benefit is capped at $653/week. For example, an employee earning $2,000 per week, would have a $653 PFL benefit; and if an employee makes $1,000 per week, the Paid Family Leave benefit would be $500 per week.
NY Department of Labor releases the updated statewide AWW every March 31.

  • To be eligible for Paid Family Leave benefits,
    • “Full-time” employees (working 20+ hours a week) must have been employed at least 26 consecutive weeks at their current Covered Employer
    • “Part-time” employees (working less than 20 hours per week) must have completed at least 175 work days at their current Covered Employer
  • When changing jobs, the time worked at the previous employer does not count.
  • Employers are required to maintain health care coverage as if the employee was not on leave.

Find more details on our employee page here.

More Details Still to Come

Of the world’s 185 developed countries, the United States stands alone as the only industrialized nation that doesn’t provide some form of paid family leave for its citizens.

New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Paid Family Leave legislation that passed in 2016. This makes New York one of few states (following California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island) to pass Paid Family Leave legislation.

With regulations released by the State of New York, insurance carriers, employers, and brokers all need to gear up and implement PFL capabilities before the phase-in of Paid Family Leave  begins in January 2018. 

We’re ready – are you ready?

Come back frequently to stay in the know as we release more details on Paid Family Leave administration in the next weeks and months to come.

Visit our blog for the most current updates

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Latest Resources

How To Calculate PFL Benefits in 2018

Stephanie Haber 0 2037 Article rating: No rating

PFL family
January 16, 2018 – Knowing how much time an employee can take with Paid Family Leave can seem tricky.  But now that Paid Family Leave is officially live in New York, employees are trying to figure out just how much...

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All the currently available PFL details are compiled here for you — but there's still much more to come.

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