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New York State to Require 12 Weeks Paid Family Leave

Posted May 2, 2017 by Kristin Hoppe in Keeping Compliant
The paid leave law will go into effect January 1, 2018 and will phase in over four years, through January 2021.

On April 4th, 2016, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that will provide 12 weeks paid family leave benefits to employees in the state of New York.

The New York Paid Family Leave Benefits Law (PFLBL) will go into effect January 1, 2018. Read below for an overview of the PFLBL and how it will impact both your business and employees.

What does the PFLBL require?

The new law will allow eligible employees to take paid family leave to:

  1. Bond with their child during the first 12 months after birth, adoption, or foster placement
  2. Care for a family member with a serious health condition
  3. Attend to obligations arising because the spouse, child, domestic partner, or parent of employee is on active duty or has been notified of impending duty in the U.S. armed forces

Who is eligible?

Paid family leave benefits will be available for all full-time New York employees who work 26 or more consecutive weeks for an employer. And part-time employees are eligible for this benefit after working 175 days for an employer.

Which employers must follow this law?

All employers in New York state who are covered by the New York State Workers' Compensation Law will be required to allow eligible employees to take paid leave . However, employers themselves will not be bankrolling the program.

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How is it funded?

Paid family leave coverage will be included under employers’ disability policies. The premium will be fully funded by employees through payroll deductions. Employers are permitted to begin making payroll deductions as early as July 1, 2017. It’s important to note that employers will not be responsible for paying employees for family leave.

What is the timeline?

Paid family leave will be phased in over four years, starting in January 1, 2018 with 8 weeks of paid leave as opposed to 12 weeks. The amount of paid family leave benefits employees are eligible for will also gradually increase as well. Here is the plan:

  • January 1st, 2018 - Employees may receive up to eight weeks of paid benefits in any 52-week period at 50% of their average weekly wage. This amount may not exceed 50% of the New York State average weekly wage.
  • January 1st, 2019 - Employees may receive up to 10 weeks of paid benefits in any 52-week period at 55% of their average weekly wage. This amount may not exceed 55% of the New York State average weekly wage.
  • January 1st, 2020 - Employees may receive up to 10 weeks of paid benefits in any 52-week period at 60% of their average weekly wage. This amount may not exceed 60% of the New York State average weekly wage.
  • January 1st, 2021 (and every year thereafter) - Employees may receive up to 12 weeks of paid benefits in any 52-week period at 67% of their average weekly wage. This amount may not exceed 67% of the New York State average weekly wage.

You can learn more about the PFLBL here.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.