Employers are currently required to provide temporary disability benefits (DB) to workers in New York State. DB policies must meet certain coverage standards and can be purchased through the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF) or a private insurance carrier. Effective January 1, 2018, the DB policies will include coverage for Paid Family Leave (PFL).  New York State’s DB and PFL laws apply to all employers, regardless of size or location, who have at least one employee working in New York State.

The billed cost for the new PFL is set at .126% of the employer’s weekly NY payroll, capped at $1.65 per week per employee in 2018. Employers can either subsidize the cost or charge employees through payroll deductions.

The PFL can be used by NY-based employees to (1) bond with a newborn, adopted or foster child, or (2) care for a sick family member, or (3) assist family when a family member is deployed abroad for active military duty. Employees are eligible after 26 weeks of employment if working at least 20 hours per week, or after 175 days of employment if working less than 20 hours per week.

In 2018, the benefit is 50% of wages up to the NY State Average Weekly Wage ($1,306) and can be taken for up to 8 weeks in a 52-week period. The percentage of wages and duration of leave is scheduled to increase each year. Employees cannot take DB and PFL at the same time, but the leaves can be used consecutively (e.g., DB for childbirth then PFL to bond with newborn) up to a maximum of 26 weeks over 52 consecutive weeks.

The administration and benefit payment of PFL is handled by the insurance carrier, not the employer.  From an employer responsibility perspective, health insurance coverage with employer contributions should be continued and the employee has job protection while on leave.  PFL may run concurrently with FMLA leave (if applicable). Employers should include PFL information in employee handbooks (or similar materials) and display the PFL poster provided by the insurance carrier, by January 1, 2018.

If you need assistance with a NY policy or have questions regarding the New York State PFL, please reference the NYSIF or New York State Paid Family Leave websites or contact your Keller account team.