Stephanie Haber

Gear up for PFL with our Employer Checklist

July 25, 2017
PFL Employer

We’re here to help you find concrete steps you can take now to help ensure an easier transition to PFL compliance when the time comes. Even before PFL becomes a reality next year, there are steps you can take today, and through the end of this year, that can help set your business up for success in addressing PFL:

Use our handy check-list to gear up for Paid Family Leave:

  • Decide what to do with early employee contributions.
    • Several payroll vendors have started default contributions effective 07/01, the earliest date you can withhold employee contributions for PFL. Paid Family Leave premiums need to be paid together with DBL premiums. If you pay your DBL (and thereby PFL) annually in advance, it may make sense to start withholding employee contributions early from a cash flow perspective.

      Food for thought: If you pay DBL/PFL quarterly in arrears, you may be collecting too much.  And you cannot collect more than the allowable maximum employee contribution for PFL through payroll deductions – if you do, you must return the excess amount to the affected employees.
    • Looking to keep/start withholding contributions early?
      Download & distribute educational employee material here, so my staff is not taken by surprise about PFL.
    • ​​Your payroll vendor started withholding employee contributions, but you’d prefer not to start withholding.  Notify my payroll vendor to stop withholding early contributions.
    • Learn more about early deductions here

When?
Now!

  • Look into payroll tracking/administration solutions.
    Since the PFL rate is based on your employees’ wage/salary, this may add to the complexity of your current payroll tracking/administration. Start looking through your bookkeeping software now, or discuss with your accountant about how best to find aggregate payroll data and how you anticipate your data needs changing. 

When?
Now!

  • Start looking into absence management solutions.
    Since paid leave can be taken in daily increments/intermittent intervals (such as every other Monday), your absence management may become more complex. If you are not subject to FMLA, which requires granular absence management capabilities, start looking into solutions that may help you keep track of intermittent leave efficiently. 

When?
Soon!

 

  • Create written guidance about PFL.
    ​You must add PFL to your written guidelines for employees concerning employee benefits or leave rights, such as in an employee handbook
    • Got an employee handbook?
      Add PFL to your benefits section informing employees of all of their rights and obligations under PFL, including information on how to file a claim for paid family leave

    • Don’t have any written employee guidelines?
      If you don’t have written policies, manuals, or handbooks describing employee benefits and leave provisions, you still have to create written guidance to each of your employees concerning all of their rights and obligations under PFL, including information on how to file a claim for paid family leave.

When?
Get started now but don’t finalize and until claim forms/details are available.

 

  • Display and keep posted a printed notice in our common area.
    Just like with DBL, you will have to display and keep posted a printed notice concerning PFL as published by New York State later this year.

When?
Once released by New York State.

 

  • See if I can expect any of my employees to be out on January 1, 2018.
    All your employees who are currently covered under DBL will be covered under – and thereby have the right to take – PFL effective 01/01/2018.

Food for thought: Any new dads in your company?
Your employees will need to give you 30 days’ notice for foreseeable leave.

When?
Towards the end of 2017.

 

  • Plan to avoid staffing gaps.
    • Look for temp agencies.
    • Cross-train my teams.

The sooner you start exploring all your options and planning for them, the more flexibility you’ll have to provide business continuity when employees begin to take paid family leave. Keep in mind that building cross-trained teams may take time.

Food for thought: Do you have procedural manuals for training in place or will you need to create them first?

When?
Now through the end of 2017.

 

  • Study up on PFL do’s and don’ts.
    ​PFL brings a whole new world of things to know and keep track of, such as:
    • You cannot require employees to exhaust their accumulated PTO before letting them go out on paid family leave, unless it’s an FMLA approved leave.

    • While you can choose to collect DBL and PFL employee contributions from an employee who is out on DBL or PFL, you cannot collect PFL contributions for an employee who is not yet eligible for PFL while that employee is out on DBL.

    • The 30-day notice only applies to foreseeable leave, otherwise it’s as soon as practicable.

    • You can’t influence an employee’s paid family leave schedule (as long as the employee is not subject to FMLAadheres to the notice requirements for foreseeable/unforeseeable leave, and your organization’s rules about requesting leave, which cannot be more stringent than the new law) – i.e., you have to be consistent with applicable regulations and the FMLA.

    • If you decline to reinstate an employee returning from PFL, your employee may report this to the State. You then have 30 days to either take corrective action or file a formal response to the employee, explaining the reason that corrective action will or will not need to be taken.


When?
Now and continuously.
 

  • Review your current FMLA policies.
    If your business has at least 50 employees, and you are therefor subject to FMLA, you will need to coordinate PFL and FMLA. Review the section of your FMLA guidelines regulating how available FMLA leave is calculated at your company to evaluate if you want to change your company-wide practice. See our PFL-FMLA comparison for more details and the impact on how both benefits get coordinated.


When?
Now through the end of 2017.
 

  • Review your company’s paid time off/leave policies.
    Do you provide paid maternity leave or similar paid leave benefits to your employees? Review these policies with your HR/legal counsel to determine how PFL impacts them and if changes are needed.

    When?
    Now through the end of 2017.

 

PFL Expert Tip:
Providing paid leave on a company-wide basis, does not excuse your business from providing PFL if you’re a Covered Employer under DBL.

 

  • Review your company’s current income replacement insurance policies.
    If you provide additional short-term disability insurance (other than DBL) or similar coverages, check the section of this other policy regarding benefit offset to identify any potential for “double-dipping.”

    When?
    Now through the end of 2017.
     
  • Review your company’s current income replacement insurance policies.
    If you provide additional short-term disability insurance (other than DBL) or similar coverages, check  the section of this other policy regarding benefit offset to identify any potential for “double-dipping.”

    When?
    Now through the end of 2017
     
  • Educate and prepare your employees.
    This applies on multiple levels. While you should educate all your employees about the new PFL benefit and their rights/responsibilities that come along with it, think of staff members who will be exposed to PFL on a professional level (like your payroll and HR manager): what training, knowledge, and tools will they need to do their jobs properly?

    Download our educational PFL employee quide here. 

    When?
    Now through the end of 2017.

 

Here's your list, simply click the image to download a PDF!

Paid Family Leave Checklist

 

 The ABC's of PFL are coming soon - Sign up here to get them as soon as they are released!

 

This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal counsel. Please consult with an appropriate professional for legal and compliance advice. Any PFL information as of July 19, 2017, is based on the applicable statutes. Got more questions? Email us at pflquestions@shelterpoint.com

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