News & Resources

New York State to Implement Paid Family Leave Law

Dec 20, 2017
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If your organization has one or more employees working in New York State, we have an important update for you.

Beginning on January 1, 2018, employees working in New York State will be eligible for paid family leave (“PFL”):

  • To provide care, including physical or psychological care, for a family member’s serious health condition;
  • To bond with a newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed foster child during the first twelve (12) months after birth, adoption, or placement; or
  • For a qualifying exigency, as defined by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), that occurs because a spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent is on active duty or is notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Employees with a regular work schedule of 20 or more hours per week are eligible for benefits after 26 consecutive weeks worked, and employees with a regular work schedule of less than 20 hours per week are eligible for benefits after 175 days worked.

PFL will be funded through employee payroll contributions, but employers must purchase PFL coverage from a disability benefits carrier or self-insure. PFL benefits will be phased in over the next four years as follows:

Year Weeks of Leave Available in any 52-Week Period Pay Available
2018 Up to 8 The lesser of 50% of the employee’s average weekly wage or the New York State average weekly wage.
2019 Up to 10 The lesser of 55% of the employee’s average weekly wage or the New York State average weekly wage.
2020 Up to 10 The lesser of 60% of the employee’s average weekly wage or the New York State average weekly wage.
2021 onward Up to 12 The lesser of 67% of the employee’s average weekly wage or the New York State average weekly wage.

An employee’s average weekly wage is calculated based on the gross amount of wages earned by the employee (including any overtime, tips and the weekly prorated amount of any bonus or commission received in the preceding 52 weeks) during the eight weeks preceding the PFL start date.

Just as is the case under the FMLA, employees who take PFL are entitled to return to the same position they held before going on leave or a position comparable in benefits, pay and other terms and conditions of employment. Employers must also maintain employees’ existing health benefits while they are on PFL and may not discriminate or retaliate against an employee for applying for or receiving PFL benefits.

Employers with employees sited in New York State should immediately take steps to comply with the PFL law. Doing so requires, among other things, (1) obtaining PFL coverage or taking steps to self-insure, (2) coordinating with payroll administrators and service providers to begin payroll deductions on January 1, 2018, (3) notifying employees of their rights under the PFL law through notice posting and the creation of a written PFL policy.

For additional information regarding employers’ obligations under New York’s PFL law or assistance with administration of PFL, please feel free to contact Amanda Smith or any other KWW attorney.