New York State Paid Family Leave – Are You Ready?

On January 1st of 2018, New York State will enact the most comprehensive Paid Family Leave (PFL) regulations in the United States.  Recently the Chamber, in partnership with attorneys from Hinman, Howard & Kattell, hosted an informational webinar to ensure that all businesses are up to date on these new regulations and are staying within compliance.

The Regulations for PFL adopt the same definition of employer as the Workers’ Compensation law, meaning that essentially all private employers with at least 1 employee will be subject to the law.  The PFL regulation has been crafted in a way that almost all businesses in New York State are subject to the law, and to ensure that almost every worker in NYS is entitled to some shape or form of PFL in 2018.

Eligible employees are defined as, someone who has been employed full-time for at least 26 weeks or part-time for 175 days during the past 52 weeks.  If an employee does not fulfill those requirements, however, they are entitled to ask for a waiver in order to be included.

Any eligible employee will be allowed access to 8 weeks of PFL starting in 2018.  This will rise to 10 weeks in 2019 and eventually 12 weeks in 2021.  They will access PFL for a birth, adoption, or foster care, a qualifying military exigency, or in order to care for a family member that is suffering from a series health condition that involves; inpatient care, continuing treatment or supervision by a health care provider, or providing care that requires “close and continuing proximity” the care recipient.  A family member is limited in the law to cover; Spouse, Domestic Partner, Child, Parent, Parent in-law, Grandparent, and Grandchild.

The PFL benefit will be paid for by a small payroll tax deduction (.126% of an employee’s weekly wage with a maximum contribution of $1.65 per week), but employers will be required to purchase a PFL policy or self-insure for their employee’s coverage and these policies are scheduled to be made available in late 2017.  Payroll deductions could have been started on or after July 1st, 2017, but as with any payroll change employers need to give employees a 7 day notice of any change.

Once a PFL benefit is used by an employee, the employer must provide health insurance subject to the employee’s usual contribution.  When returning, they also must be restored to the same or comparable position without any benefit loss and no waiting period.

So if your business and employees are within the criteria specified above, are you and your business prepared for these dramatic changes?  If you are unaware if your business is ready, please review your policies and make sure you are taking steps to be in compliance.  If you have any questions or want more specifics, please contact Brendan O’Bryan at the Chamber (

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