As New York State prepares to finalize and implement the new Paid Family Leave Act, we wanted to share with you the proposed regulations as well as some additional insight on the law.

Regulation Overview:

On April 4, 2016 Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill requiring all employers to expand their disability offering and provide Paid Family Leave benefits to all eligible employees as part of the state's disability insurance program.  The law takes effect January 1, 2018 and will be phased in over a four-year period. Once fully implemented in 2021, employees will be eligible for up to 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave (PFL); this gives employees in New York State the richest PFL benefit in the country.  The law will supersede the Federal FMLA regulations and require that any employer with 1 or more employees comply so all employees in NYS will have the ability to take paid leave to care for a family member.

There are 3 main categories of qualifying events for which employees can take paid family leave:

1. To provide care for a family member with a severe health condition

2. To bond with a child after birth, adoption, or foster care placement

3. For a military exigency leave event.

Paid Family Leave benefits are slated to increase over the next 4 years on the following schedule:

Effective Date 

Max Benefit within 52 week period 

EE's Paid Family Leave Benefit 

1/1/2018 

 8 Weeks 

 50% of average weekly wage 

1/1/2019 

 10 Weeks 

 55% of average weekly wage 

1/1/2020 

 10 Weeks 

 60% of average weekly wage 

1/1/2021 

 12 Weeks 

 67% of average weekly wage 

      

Highlights on the Regulation (please note that details are still being finalized): 

  • NYS is required to set the maximum employee premium contribution to be taken via payroll deduction for the PFL benefit by June 1, 2017.
  • Rates are rumored to be between $0.70-$1.00 per employee, per week.
  • Per the regulations, premiums must be paid in full by the employee and there is no opt-out option.
  • Employers can begin withholding premiums from employees effective July 1, 2017.
  • Employers will be required to notify employees of their rights under the new law, although the method of notification has not yet been officially released by the state.
  • To be eligible for benefits, a full-time employee must work for a covered employer for 26 or more consecutive weeks. A part-time employee must work for a covered employer for 175 days.
  • Employers must hold the employee's position while they are out on PFL.
  • An employee cannot collect PFL and DBL benefits at the same time.
  • DBL and PFL cannot exceed more than 26 weeks total in any consecutive 52 week period.

More detailed information on Paid Family Leave regulations can be found in our legislative brief. We will keep you updated as more details are finalized.

Thank you, and please do not hesitate to contact us with questions!