In 2018, New York State began requiring private employers to secure Paid Family Leave coverage for their employees. Paid Family Leave coverage is funded by employee payroll contributions, and provides wage replacement and job protection to employees who need time away from their jobs to tend to family needs.
Below are some frequently asked Employer questions about these laws.
Who has to provide their employees with coverage?
If you are a business that has employees working in New York State and your business has employed at least 1 person for at least a 30 day period in a calendar year, you must provide your employees with coverage.
What type of employees eligible for coverage?
Any person working in New York State for a private sector business who meets the following criteria:
- Full-time employees: A person working 20+ hours per week who has been employed at least 26 consecutive weeks at your business.
- Part-time employees: A person who's completed at least 175 days of work for the business.
- Personal or domestic employees: A person working at least 40 hours per week for at least 30 or more days in a calendar year. Personal or domestic employees include chauffeurs, nannies, home health aides, nurses, babysitters, maids/live-in maids, cooks, housekeepers, laundry workers, butlers, companions, and gardeners who work in a private household.
Are there any employees who can be excluded from coverage?
- 1099 independent contractors
- Employers that are exempt from New York Disability Insurance requirements are also exempt from the Paid Family Leave requirements.
- Daytime students in an elementary or secondary school who work part-time.
- Minor children of the employer
- "Extra Employees" - individuals who are normally not in the labor market but are hired to do work for a limited special period of time
- "Casual Employees" - normally work in a different occupation and are hired for a day or less
- Railroad and maritime employees
- Farm laborers
- Golf caddies
- Black car operators covered by the Black Car Operators Fund
- Livery drivers covered by the Independent Livery Disability Benefits Fund
- Certain classes of employees (such as Owners/Officers, Clergy, and employees in a teaching capacity) at incorporated non-profit 501(c)3 religious, charitable or educational institutes
What are qualified reasons that Paid Family Leave provides paid time off to employees?
- To provide care for a family member with a qualifying health condition
- To bond with a child after birth, adoption or to welcome a child into foster care
- To cope with a military exigency leave event
- To obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other shelter or services program
- To participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocate, or take other actions to increase the safety of the employee or family member.
- To meet with a civil attorney or other social service provider to obtain information and advice on, and prepare for or participate in, any criminal or civil proceeding, including but not limited to matters related to a family offense matter, sexual offense, stalking, human trafficking, custody, visitation, matrimonial issues, orders of protection, immigration, housing, discrimination in employment, housing, or consumer credit.
- To file a complaint or domestic incident report with law enforcement
- To meet with a district attorney's office
- To enroll children in a new school
- To take other actions necessary to maintain, improve or restore the physical psychological, or economic health or safety of the employee or family member or to protect those who associate or work with the employee
What are the employer's responsibilities in regards to the New York Paid Family Leave Act?
- Contact your disability insurance carrier to obtain Paid Family Leave coverage. If you do not have a disability insurance carrier, OnPay can assist you with obtaining coverage.
- Ensure employees are notified that they are entitled to be reinstated to their same, or comparable, job upon return form Paid Family Leave. Note: Failure to reinstate employees to their same or comparable jobs may leave employers exposed to discrimination and/or retaliation claims.
- Employers must continue employee’s health insurance while they are on Paid Family Leave. Employers may require that employees continue to pay their health insurance premium contributions.
- Employers must ensure that their employees are aware of the Paid Family Leave program and their organizational policies comply with the law.
- Employers must display a poster regarding Paid Family Leave coverage in their place of business, similar to Worker’s Compensation or Disability Benefits coverage.
How is Paid Family Leave calculated?
The rate for PFL starting in January 2018 is 0.126% of the first $67,907.84 (the average annual wage in New York) per year. This means that each employee pays a maximum of $85.56 in 2018.
How much time off can employees take?
In 2018, employees will be eligible for 8 weeks of time off with the ability to return to their job and continue their health insurance. If the employee contributes to the cost of their health insurance, they must continue to pay their portion of the premium while on Paid Family Leave. This time increases to 10 weeks in 2019 and 2020, then maxes out at 12 weeks in 2021.
How much of the employee’s salary can they receive while on Paid Family Leave?
In 2018, employees will be eligible to receive 50% of their average weekly wage up to a maximum of $652.96 (50% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage of $1305.92). This percentage increases to 55% in 2019, 60% in 2020, and 67% in 2021. The state will adjust the Average Weekly Wage each year after a comprehensive analysis by the New York State Department of Labor.
Can I require employees to use all of their sick/vacation/PTO prior to using Paid Family Leave?
No, an employer may permit employees to use their accrued time so that they receive their full salary, but they may not require employees to use this accrued time.
Must the employee still accrue Paid Time off while on Paid Family Leave?
An employee is not entitled to continue to accrue Paid Time Off while out on Paid Family Leave, but the law and regulations do not prohibit the employer from allowing the employee to continue accruing leave.
If I employ multiple members of the same family, can they take Paid Family Leave at the same time, caring for the same family leave recipient, or to bond with a child?
As an employer, you can deny Paid Family Leave to more than one employee at the same time to care for the same family leave recipient or to bond with a child.
Do your employees have questions about Paid Family Medical Leave? We answer their questions, too.
Learn more about Paid Family Medical Leave requirements by state.
More information about NY PFML is available at www.ny.gov/paidfamilyleave or by calling call (844)-337-6303.
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