Today we’re sharing important information from the NY.gov website on employer obligations under NYS’s new Paid Family Leave. As always, please contact us at 338-1024 for assistance understanding and complying with these benefit requirements.
“Businesses play an important role in implementing Paid Family Leave. Starting January 1, 2018, nearly all private employees in New York State will be eligible for Paid Family Leave.
Insurance coverage for Paid Family Leave benefits generally will be added to an employer’s existing disability benefits policy. Paid Family Leave coverage is funded by employee payroll contributions. Use the ny.gov/pflcalculator to get an estimate of an employee's weekly deduction.
Through Paid Family Leave, employers may increase recruitment and retention as eligible employees are guaranteed:
paid time off for 8 weeks in 2018, increasing to 12 weeks by 2021;
job protection upon return from Paid Family Leave; and
continuation of health insurance while out on Paid Family Leave.
Below is a list of ongoing responsibilities for employers in New York who must provide Paid Family Leave; new employers can use it as a checklist to prepare for offering the benefit.
Ensure your company has Paid Family Leave coverage
Most private employers with one or more employees are required to obtain Paid Family Leave insurance. Contact your broker or insurer for information about available policies as well as options for paying your premium (e.g., whether it can be paid semi-annually, annually, or annually on a retrospective basis).
This insurance is generally added as a rider on an existing disability insurance policy; it does not replace it.
If you are self-insured for disability, you may purchase a separate Paid Family Leave policy or apply to the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board to self-insure. You would still need coverage while you’re applying.
For a list of insurers offering Paid Family Leave policies, visit the PFL section of the Department of Financial Services website.
Inform your employees about Paid Family Leave
Include Paid Family Leave information in your written materials distributed to your employees, such as employee handbooks.
If you do not have a handbook, provide written guidance to employees concerning their Paid Family Leave benefits, including how to file a request for Paid Family Leave.
Model language for employee handbooks and other written materials is available here.
Collect employee payroll contributions
Ensure that you are collecting the employee contributions that pay for this insurance.
It is strongly recommended you notify employees before withholding any contributions. A template Notice of Employee Payroll Deduction is available here.
The employee contribution rate is set every year to match the cost of insurance coverage. For 2018, the payroll contribution rate is 0.126% of an employee’s weekly wage and is capped at an annual maximum of $85.56. Employees earning less than the New York State Average Weekly Wage ($1305.92 per week), will have an annual contribution amount less than the cap of $85.56, consistent with their actual weekly wages.
Use the ny.gov/pflcalculator to get an estimate of an employee's weekly deduction.
Inform employees about waivers if they qualify
Identify employees who qualify for a waiver (information on who is eligible for waivers is explained below in the Employer and Employee Eligibility and Waivers section of this website), and offer them the option to waive coverage.
Provide these employees with a waiver form, which is
Keep a copy of all completed waivers on file.
Post an employee notice
Your insurance carrier will provide you with a notice to employees (Notice of Compliance) stating that you have Paid Family Leave insurance.
If you are self-insured, you can get this notice by contacting the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post and maintain this notice in plain view.
Familiarize Yourself with Your Responsibilities when an Employee Requests Paid Family Leave
Included below is information on what you need to do when an employee requests Paid Family Leave, including your responsibility to complete a section of their form.
Contact Us for Assistance
Call the Paid Family Leave Helpline at 844-337-6303, Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm ET”
Complete details on eligibility and coverage can be found within the Frequently Asked Questions section of NY.gov website.