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What is the New York State Paid Family Leave Law?

20-May-2017

The New York State Paid Family Leave (PFL) Law, which is set to go into effect on January 1, 2018, provides paid leave to employees who care for a new child, a loved one with a serious health condition or a family struggling while a family member is called to active military service, or who need to meet birth, adoption or foster care obligations.

New York Paid Family Leave: How it Works

PFL coverage will be included under the disability policy New York employers are mandated to carry under the New York Disability Benefits Law (DBL). The premium cost for the coverage will be funded by employees through payroll deductions. An annual maximum rate for the employee’s contributions will be established by the State of New York.

Employees do not have to take all of their sick leave and/or vacation before using PFL. An employer may permit an employee to use sick or vacation leave for full pay, but may not require an employee to use the PFL leave.

Employees are guaranteed job protection and continuation of health insurance (provided any employee contributions are continued) while on PFL.

The program is mandatory for all private employers, and public employers may opt-in.

Benefits

The PFL Law takes effect January 1, 2018 and phases in over four years.

Employees may take the maximum benefit length in any given 52-week period. The 52-week period begins the first day of an employee’s PFL.

TheNYS Department of Laborannually publishes the average weekly wage, the basis for determining the maximum benefit payable. We anticipate the following benefits schedule:

Effective Date Maximum Length of Paid Leave Payable % of an Employee’s Average Weekly Wage Maximum Weekly Benefit
Jan. 1, 2018 8 weeks 50% $653
Jan. 1, 2019 10 weeks 55% 55% of State Avg. Wkly Wage
Jan. 1, 2020 10 weeks 60% 60% of State Avg. Wkly Wage
Jan. 1, 2021 12 weeks 67% 67% of State Avg. Wkly Wage

New York Paid Family Leave: What You Need to Know

What situations qualify for PFL?

Maternity and Paternity Leave (Bonding Leave): PFL only begins after birth and is not available for prenatal conditions. A parent may take PFL during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child. Leave must be taken within the first year of birth or placement. Births which have occurred in 2017 may be eligible.

Caring for a Spouse, Domestic partner, Child, Parent, Parent in-law, Grandparent, Grandchild with a Serious Health Condition.

Meeting birth, adoption, or foster care obligations:This includes absences required for adoption and foster care placements such as to attend counseling sessions, travel to another country to complete an adoption, consult with doctors and attorneys representing the birth parent, or appear in court.

Active Duty Deployment (Exigency Leave)military provisions in the federal Family and Medical Leave Act when a spouse, child, domestic partner or parent of the employee is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order of active duty.

Who is Eligible?

Employees at private organizations in New York State who have more than one employee (excluding the owner) for at least 30 days in a year; if they meet certain eligibility criteria: Full-time employees can take leave if they have been employed for at least 26 consecutive weeks.

Part-time employees are eligible to take leave if they have been employed for at least 175 days of consecutive employment. For purposes of the PFL, part-time employees are those who are scheduled to work fewer than five days per week.

Participation in the program, if eligible, is not optional for employees. However, certain employees have the option to file for a waiver of PFL benefits.

Who is Ineligible?

An employee seeking leave due to his or her own serious health condition.

Employees who have filed a waiver of leave benefits.

Any employee already receiving total disability benefits (i.e. the coverage an injured worker may receive during his/her recovery).

Employees on administrative leave.

Employees who work for an exempt employer.

Employees who are excluded from coverage underArticle 9 of the Disability Benefits Law (DBL)and thePaid Family Leave (PFL) Law.

New York Paid Family Leave: Information for Employers

How is PFL Administered?

Administered through an employer’s existing statutory short-term disability insurance (DBL), PFL benefits will be rolled out effective January 1, 2018, with benefit increases phased in each year until January 1, 2021. Here is some useful information to help ensure you stay compliant with the new regulations.

How are PFL and DBL the same?

PFL will be included under an employer’s DBL policy; coverage for both DBL and PFL must be from the same carrier.

Both PFL and DBL are mandatory for eligible employees.

How are PFL and DBL different?

PFL and DBL benefits cannot be collected at the same time.

Unlike DBL benefits, there is no waiting period before employees become eligible to receive PFL benefits and benefits are payable on the first full day PFL leave is required.

Combined, PFL and DBL benefits must not amount to more than the 26-week benefit maximum during any 52 consecutive calendar weeks.

PFL is designed to provide expanded benefits for employees (regardless of gender) who have had a child, are planning to adopt, or need time to care for a family member with a serious health condition or relative on a qualifying military leave.

PFL is fully funded by employees and does not require any employer contributions. DBL requires employer contributions.

Have questions?

For more information, you can visit the state of New York’s Paid Family Leave website atwww.ny.gov/paidfamilyleave.