In 2016, New York Governor Cuomo signed into law the New York State Paid Family Leave Program (the “Program”), which takes effect beginning January 1, 2018. As an employer, there are several provisions you should know before the Program takes effect. The Program requires employers to provide wages and health insurance coverage for an employee’s child care, for care of a close relative with a serious health condition, and to assist families when someone is called to active military service.
This information is intended as an overview of the Program. Should you have any specific questions or concerns regarding the Program, we encourage you to contact our firm at (813) 223-1099, Mr. David Shankman at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Mr. Jonathan Stitt at email@example.com.
Who is Eligible
The Program is available to those employees who have been employed: 1) with a regular schedule of 20 or more hours per week after 26 weeks of employment; or 2) with a regular schedule of less than 20 hours per week after 175 days of employment.
Under What Circumstances is the Program Available
The Program is available under three circumstances: (1) maternity and paternity leave; (2) caring for a close relative with a serious health condition; and (3) active duty deployment.
How Much Paid Leave Time May Employees Take
During the first year of the Program, employees may take 8 weeks of paid leave. During the second and third year of the Program, employees may take 10 weeks of paid leave. Finally, during the fourth and subsequent years of the Program, employees may take 12 weeks of paid leave.
What Percentage of Employee Wages Must be Paid to Employees
During the first year of the Program (2018), employees are entitled to 50% of their average weekly wage, but that amount cannot exceed 50% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage. During the second year of the Program (2019), these percentages increase to 55%. During the third year of the Program (2020), these percentages increase to 60%. Finally, during the fourth (2021) and subsequent years of the Program, these percentages increase to 67%. These wages will be paid by your Paid Family Leave insurance policy.
Who Pays for the Benefits
The Program will be funded through a Paid Family Leave insurance policy or can be self-funded. Your employees will pay for the premium of the policy through payroll deductions. Your New York Disability Benefits carrier should be familiar with these insurance policies.
What are the Employer’s Obligations to the Employee Upon Returning to Work
Upon returning to work after taking leave, employees must be provided their same or comparable position. Employers must also maintain the employee’s health insurance while out on leave; however, employees are required to continue to contribute to their health insurance premiums while out on leave.