New York’s Paid Family Leave Law
New York State enacted Paid Family Leave effective January 1, 2018. Paid Family Leave provides eligible employees with up to a certain number of weeks of paid time off in order to:
- bond with a newborn, adopted or foster child;
- care for a close relative with a serious health condition; or
- assist with family situations when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service.
Employees who take Paid Family Leave must be returned to the same position or a comparable position at their employer upon returning from their leave. In addition, employees can keep their health insurance while on leave but must continue to pay any employee portion of premium costs while on leave.
How Many Weeks of Paid Leave and How Much Pay do Employees Get?
Paid leave benefits will be phased in over four years from 2018 through 2021. The number of weeks of leave and amount of the paid leave benefit will increase during that four year period. The amount of pay is based on a percentage of the employee’s average weekly wage. An employee’s average weekly wage is the average of the last eight weeks of pay prior to starting Paid Family Leave. The average weekly wage amount is capped at the New York State average weekly wage, which is currently $1,305.92. Therefore, an employee’s average weekly wage used to determine the paid leave benefit amount can be no greater than the New York State average weekly wage.
The benefits over the four year phase-in period are as follows:
- 2018: 8 weeks and 50% pay
- 2019: 10 weeks and 55% pay
- 2020: 10 weeks and 60% pay
- 2021: 12 weeks and 67% pay
Which Employees Are Eligible to Take Paid Family Leave?
Full-time employees who work a regular schedule of 20 or more hours per week are eligible to take Paid Family Leave after 26 consecutive weeks of employment. Part-time employees who work a regular schedule of less than 20 hours per week are eligible to take Paid Family Leave after working 175 days, which do not need to be consecutive.
How Do Employees Request Paid Family Leave?
- Employees must notify their employer at least 30 days before the leave will start, if the leave is foreseeable. Otherwise, employees should notify their employer as soon as possible.
- Employees should obtain required forms from their employer, the employer’s insurance carrier or download the forms form the New York State Paid Family Leave website for the type of leave they are requesting: bonding, caring for family member, military.
- Employees should complete and submit the appropriate Request for Paid Family Leave Form (Form PFL-1) to their employer in order for the employer to complete its section of the form. The employer should return the form to the employee with the employer section completed within three business days. If the employer fails to respond within three business days, employees should submit all materials to the employer’s Paid Family Leave insurance carrier.
- Employees should obtain and attach required supporting documentation as described on the request forms for each type of leave and submit the request forms and supporting documentation to the insurance carrier. Employees can submit a request before or within the 30 days after the start of their leave. The insurance carrier must pay or deny an employee’s request within 18 calendar days of receiving a completed request.