The New York Paid Family Leave Act: What you need to know now.

The New York State Paid Family Leave (PFL) Law is set to go into effect January 1, 2018. Funded by a new payroll tax, the law provides that employees can take leave, without losing their jobs or benefits, and receive a portion of their normal pay for the duration of the time off. The amount of time off and the percent of pay received will be phased in over four years. This table summarizes the timeline:

Effective Date 1/1/2018
Maximum Length of Paid Leave 8 weeks
Payable % of an Employee’s Average Weekly Wage 50%
Maximum Weekly Benefit $653

Effective Date 1/1/2019
Maximum Length of Paid Leave 10 weeks
Payable % of an Employee’s Average Weekly Wage 55%
Maximum Weekly Benefit 55% of State Avg. Weekly Wage

Effective Date 1/1/2020
Maximum Length of Paid Leave 10 weeks
Payable % of an Employee’s Average Weekly Wage 60%
Maximum Weekly Benefit 60% of State Avg. Weekly Wage

Effective Date 1/1/2021
Maximum Length of Paid Leave 12 weeks
Payable % of an Employee’s Average Weekly Wage 67%
Maximum Weekly Benefit 67% of State Avg. Weekly Wage

The following lists the situations for which one can qualify for Paid Family Leave:

  • Maternity and Paternity Leave: PFL begins after birth and is not available for prenatal conditions. A parent may take PFL within the first year of birth or placement of an adopted or fostered child. 2017 births may also 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 obligation, including absences required for adoption and foster care placements. Obligations include counseling sessions, travel to another country to complete adoption processes, doctor and attorney consultations regarding the birth parent, or court appearances.
  • Active Duty Deployment: When a spouse, child, domestic partner or parent of the employee is on active military duty has received active duty orders.

Employees of private organizations in the state of New York with more than one employee for at least 30 days of the year are eligible. Employees must be full-time and have been employed for at least 26 consecutive weeks. Part-time employees who have been employed for at least 175 consecutive days, working fewer than five days per week, are also eligible for PFL.

Paid Family Leave will be administered by the same insurance carriers that provide employers their mandated New York State Disability (NYDBL) policies. PFL and DBL benefits cannot be collected simultaneously. There is no eligibility waiting period before an employee can receive PFL benefits: benefits are payable on the first full day PFL leave is required. Combined PFL and DBL benefits must not exceed the 26-week benefit maximum during any 52 consecutive calendar weeks.

Although the intent is to have the cost borne 100% by the employees, the benefit is tied to the NY DBL law and therefore expected to be administered by any carrier who handles NY DBL. The amount to be charged to the employees has NOT been finalized. The state has suggested one rate to be charged to the employee , the insurance carriers say it is too low. The state is expected to issue their decision as to the rates by June 1. The respective carriers then have 60 days to determine if they want to remain as a DBL carrier or exit the marketplace.

For more info see the New York State Paid Family Leave site.