The New York Paid Family Leave benefit law has been in effect for almost two years. As this is the third year in the State’s four-year schedule to phase in benefits, here’s what you need to know about the changes that went into effect January 1, 2020.
Worker Coverage Expanded
Eligible farm laborers are now covered by Paid Family Leave giving them access to 10 weeks of job protected, paid time off. The maximum paid leave for all employees will rise to 12 weeks in 2021.
Wage Replacement Benefit Increase
Employees taking PFL will now receive 60% of their average weekly wage, up to a cap of 60% of the current Statewide Average Weekly Wage (currently $1401.17). This makes the maximum weekly benefit a total of $840.70 for 2020.
Premium Rate and Employee Contribution Increase
The per pay period contribution has increased to 0.270% of the employee’s gross wages. The maximum annual contribution increased to $196.72.
Employers are required to inform their employees about their rights under Paid Family Leave and have additional responsibilities to comply with the law. If you haven’t already done so, employers will need to update administration and billing systems, employee notices, handbooks and other materials, and benefit website/intranet.
- Post a Notice of Compliance – Insurance carrier will provide a notice to be posted for employees. Self-insured employers may obtain a notice from the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board. Post this notice in plain view.
- Provide Written Materials – Include Paid Family Leave information in written materials such as employee handbooks. If a company does not have a handbook, the employer must provide written guidance to employees, including how to file a request.
- Identify Employees who qualify for a waiver – Employees who will not meet the minimum time worked requirements must be given the option to waive having deductions be withheld from their pay.
- Collect Employee Payroll Contributions – Employee contributions are withheld each pay period.
- Respond to Employee Request for Leave – When an employee makes a request for leave, the employer must respond. Employees should notify their employer at least 30 days in advance, if foreseeable, or as soon as possible.
- Not discriminate or retaliate against an employee who requests or takes Paid Family Leave.
Model language for employee materials and other information regarding Paid Family Leave may be found at https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/2020.