What We Do

We are a private, employee-owned company that specializes in administering employee leaves of absence as well as designing, implementing, and administering self-insured short-term disability plans, including voluntary plans that replace California State Disability Insurance (SDI).

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If you are interested in exploring self insuring your short term disability plan, contact The Larkin Company today

Disability Plans

What We Do

The Larkin Company helps employers explore the advantages and savings that result from self-insuring short-term income replacement programs. By self-insuring, the employer takes complete control over the benefit and funding design as well as the processes. From initial concept through implementation and claims administration, we’re experts.

Why Self Insure Your Short Term Disability Plan?

Self-insurance is a very popular funding tool used by many companies to control the cost of employee benefits. It is particularly attractive because, in most circumstances, the losses are easily forecast and paid out over time.

In some instances, employers are already self-insured in that they continue to pay a portion of the employee’s salary through payroll while the employee is disabled. This may be in accordance with a formal company policy, e.g., “salary continuation,” or an informal payroll practice. In either case, companies are often interested in obtaining professional medical management for the disability. The Larkin Company provides medical management and adjudication of such disabilities and can either issue benefit payments directly or provide the employer with advice-to-pay.

With The Larkin Company, plans are designed and administered to meet individual client needs. We provide interested companies with a comprehensive Feasibility Study to determine if self-insurance is a good alternative.

The Larkin Company has expertise in:

  • Designing and administering self-insured short-term disability plans
  • Self-Insured State Disability Plans, also called voluntary plans
  • Advice-to-Pay
  • Paid Family Leave as a part of the administration of self-insured voluntary plans
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If you are interested in self insuring your state disability insurance or voluntary plan, contact The Larkin Company today

California SDI

What We Do

The Larkin Company has been designing and administering self-insured State Disability Insurance Plans (known as “voluntary plans”) for more than 25 years. The principals of The Larkin Company are recognized as experts in this field.

Why Self-Insure California State Disability Insurance?

Self-insurance is a very popular funding tool used by many companies to control the cost of employee benefits. It is particularly attractive because, in most circumstances, the losses are easily forecast and paid out over time.

SDI is funded entirely through a payroll tax on individual employee earnings. In recent years, the SDI contribution rate has been as high as 1.2%. As a result, many employers are able to offer benefits greater than or similar to SDI at the same or lower cost to the employee. There is no cost to the employer to implement and administer a self-insured plan.

With The Larkin Company, plans are designed and administered to meet individual client needs. We provide interested companies with a comprehensive Feasibility Study to determine if self-insurance is financially viable and a good alternative.

The Larkin Company assists with:

  • Plan Design
  • Employee Communication and Enrollment
  • Plan Documentation
  • Legal Compliance
  • Ongoing Claims Administration, Consulting and Support
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If you are interested in outsourcing your leave administration, contact The Larkin Company today

Leave Administration

Managing Employee Leaves

When the Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA) passed into law on February 5, 1993, employee leaves of absence changed dramatically. The FMLA requires employers to grant leaves to employees for up to 12 weeks and to protect the employee’s job during the leave.

Managing employee leaves of absence and complying with federal and state laws governing such leaves has become confusing for employers and employees alike. When do the various laws run concurrently? When are they exclusive? Which law provides the greater protection or benefit? To what lengths should employers go to merely comply with the various laws? What problems are created by being more generous than the law requires?

With The Larkin Company, employers gain consistent application of company policy and the law, expert help for employees during a complicated time and customized processes meeting the individual client’s needs.

Why outsource Leave Administration?

The Larkin Company’s services include:

  • Guidance in writing or updating leave policies to comply with federal and state law
  • Consistent application of company policy and the law
  • Customized processes that meet the individual client needs
  • Personalized employee communication
  • Periodic alerts to management and human resources regarding leave status
  • Certification and tracking of both protected and unprotected (e.g., personal) leaves
  • Sensitive help for employees during a complicated time
  • Integration with disability plans

Our clients include companies of all sizes with employees in multiple states that are interested in complying with federal and state laws governing employee leaves of absence.

Our Market

Our clients include companies of all sizes with employees in multiple states that are interested in complying with federal and state laws governing employee leaves of absence.

Because we customize our processes to fit individual client needs, we provide solutions for the employer that has limited or no resources as well as the employer that is interested in reallocating resources.

WE HAVE CLIENTS IN ALL INDUSTRIES

High Technology

High Technology

High Technology

Construction

High Technology

Service

High Technology

Retail

High Technology

Agriculture

High Technology

Manufacturing

OUR SOLUTIONS ARE CUSTOM

Solutions are designed to meet the individual expectations of our client.

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Our solutions are designed to meet the individual expectations of our client

Our Market

Our clients include companies of all sizes with employees in multiple states that are interested in complying with federal and state laws governing employee leaves of absence. Because we customize our processes to fit individual client needs, we provide solutions for the smaller employer that has limited or no resources as well as the larger employer that is interested in reallocating resources.

Our clients include high technology companies with highly technical and well-educated employees as well as companies in service industries with minimum wage workers and high employee turnover. Our solutions are designed to meet the individual expectations of our client. Consider that our goal is 100% client retention.

Self-insured disability plans are usually a solution for companies with at least 500 employees. This threshold will vary depending on factors such as employee demographics, the client’s objectives, the client’s risk tolerance and other variables. The Larkin Company offers a variety of approaches depending on the individual client’s needs.

We design highly customized and personalized processes based on each client’s situation. As a result, we appeal to companies who seek a unique approach to the administration of its programs and the highest level of service.

How We Integrate

While we offer our services on an a la carte basis, we fully integrate the leave and disability management process for many of our clients. To us, "integration" means a single point of contact from intake until the employee returns to work. It means the client's support team works on a single, integrated system. It means fully integrated process flows that we design with the client to meet its expectations. Talk with us about the efficiencies and service enhancements that result from integrating employee leaves with disability management.

Who We Are

We believe that our level of service and support separates us from our competition, and we invite anyone to ask our clients if this is not the case.

Founded in January 2001 with headquarters in Santa Clara, CA.

The Larkin Company is a private, employee-owned company. We are a young, profitable company with many years experience in the administration of employee benefit programs. We are passionate about providing outstanding service and strive for 100% client retention.

Tom Larkin, Founder

News & Updates

We keep up to date on the latest policy changes.

  • The Larkin Company Newsletter

    California EDD Announces 2018 Changes to State Disability Insurance

    The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has announced that the 2018 employee contribution rate for State Disability Insurance (SDI) will increase to 1.0%.  The taxable wage base from which the contributions will be taken will increase from $110,902 to $114,967 and the maximum cost to an employee will be $1,149.67. The EDD currently provides SDI […]

  • California EDD Announces 2018 Changes to State Disability Insurance

  • Must an Employer Offer Leave as an Accommodation?

  • New York State Paid Family Leave Taxation Update

  • Updates on State Laws: New York, Nevada, and Washington

  • New York State Paid Family Leave Update

  • California State Disability Insurance Fund Forecast for 2018

  • New York State Paid Family Leave

  • Change to California Unemployment Code Relating to Disability Waiting Period

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The Larkin Company Newsletter

California EDD Announces 2018 Changes to State Disability Insurance

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has announced that the 2018 employee contribution rate for State Disability Insurance (SDI) will increase to 1.0%.  The taxable wage base from which the contributions will be taken will increase from $110,902 to $114,967 and the maximum cost to an employee will be $1,149.67.

The EDD currently provides SDI and Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits equal to 55% of the employee’s base period earnings.  For 2018, the maximum weekly benefit will increase from $1,173 to $1,216.

Additional EDD changes that take effect January 1, 2018:

The one week waiting period for PFL claims has been eliminated but remains in place for SDI claims

  • The wage replacement rates for SDI and PFL increase to:
    •  70% for individuals who earned less than one-third of the state’s average quarterly wage during the highest quarter of their base period; OR
    • 60% for individuals who earned one-third or more of the state’s average quarterly wage during the highest quarter of their base period.

California permits employers to opt out of SDI and establish a private plan for Voluntary Disability Insurance (known as a “Voluntary Plan”), provided certain requirements are met.  Among these requirements are that the Voluntary Plan’s employee cost be no more than the cost for SDI and that benefits paid by the Plan are at least equal to what SDI would pay.

The Larkin Company will reach out to clients for whom we administer a Voluntary Plan to assist them in planning for 2018.

Must an Employer Offer Leave as an Accommodation?

On September 20, 2017 the Seventh Circuit upheld a decision from a lower district court in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc that an employer did not violate the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide an employee with a long term medical leave of absence.  In the Severson case, employee Severson took twelve weeks of Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) due to severe back pain.  Prior to the end of the FMLA leave, Severson let his employer know he required surgery and requested an additional two to three months of leave.  The employer, Heartland, denied the request and terminated Severson.  Heartland invited Severson to reapply when he was medically cleared to work.  Severson did not reapply and instead sued Heartland for discrimination under the ADA for failing to provide him with “leave as a reasonable accommodation.”  The Seventh Circuit affirmed the lower court’s ruling stating, “If the proposed accommodation does not make it possible for the employee to perform his job, then the employee is not a ‘qualified individual’ as that term is defined in the ADA.”

In response to the Seventh Circuit decision, the EEOC filed a brief as amicus curiae supporting the reversal of the Seventh Circuit decision.  In the brief, the EEOC asserts, “When an employee requests a temporary leave of absence as a reasonable accommodation, the employee’s ability to perform the essential functions should be assessed as of the projected end of the leave period.”

As the EEOC opposes the Seventh Circuit decision, employers should continue to evaluate accommodation requests on a case by case basis. With every evaluation, it is important to engage in the interactive discussion process with the employee, and document the interactive process.  The Larkin Company is currently beta testing ADA services that we plan to offer all clients in addition to our current services.  Our ADA program is designed for Larkin to engage in and document the interactive process on behalf of our clients.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is located in Chicago, Illinois and has jurisdiction over the Central District of Illinois, Northern District of Illinois, Southern District of Illinois, Northern District of Indiana, Southern District of Indiana, Eastern District of Wisconsin and the Western District of Wisconsin.

The Larkin Company is here to help.  Please contact us and we will schedule a time to review your plans and policies.

New York State Paid Family Leave Taxation Update

New York has released Notice N-17-12 which provides guidance regarding taxation of the Paid Family Leave Program beginning January 1, 2018.

  • Benefits will be taxable non-wage income and must be included in federal gross income.
  • Employees must request voluntary tax withholding as the taxes will not automatically be withheld.
  • Employers should deduct premiums from employees’ after-tax wages.
  • Employers should report employee contributions on Form W-2, Box 14.
  • Benefits should be reported on Form 1099-G by the State Insurance Fund and on Form 1099-MISC by all other carriers.

The guidance for New York Paid Family Leave benefits is limited to Notice N-17-12.  It is recommended that employers seek further guidance from a tax or employment counselor.  Employee contributions may begin as early as July 1, 2017.  Employers will want to reach out to their NY DBL/PFL carrier to determine the contribution schedule that best fits their PFL policy.

Beginning January 1, 2018, New York employees may take job-protected, paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill family member, or to take leave for a qualifying military exigency. New York Paid Family Leave will be phased in over four years beginning with 8 weeks of paid leave in 2018.
Please see our July newsletter for additional information regarding New York Paid Family Leave.

The Larkin Company is here to help.  Please contact us and we will schedule a time to review your plans and policies.

Updates on State Laws: New York, Nevada, and Washington

New York State Paid Family Leave Finalized

On July 19, New York Governor Cuomo announced the final regulations implementing the New York Paid Family Leave Program (NYPFL).  NYPFL will provide income replacement, job protection, and continuation of insurance for employees who take leave to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill family member or assist when a family member is deployed on active military duty.  Private employers will need to obtain Paid Family Leave coverage for their employees effective January 1, 2018.
New York PFL provides a 50% weekly benefit for up to 8 weeks of leave beginning in 2018 and will gradually phase in increases to the benefit and duration to cap at a 67% weekly benefit up to 12 weeks in 2021.
What should employers with New York employees do now?

  • Employers should reach out to their New York Disability Benefits (NYDBL) carrier to obtain Paid Family Leave coverage.
  • Include New York Paid Family Leave information in the employee handbook or equivalent employee materials.
  • Display a poster regarding New York Paid Family Leave coverage in your place of business.  This poster will be available from your insurance carrier.

A fact sheet from the New York Workers’ Compensation Board is available here: https://www.ny.gov/sites/ny.gov/files/atoms/files/PFL_Employer_Fact_Sheet.pdf

Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act

On June 2, Nevada Governor, Brian Sandoval, signed SB 253, the Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act into law expanding the protections for pregnant employees.  The Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to female employees or applicants due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.  The Act also makes it unlawful for employers to take adverse action against an employee due to the request and or use of an accommodation.  Nevada employers with 15 or more employees must comply with the new Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act which goes into effect October 1, 2017.  Notice requirements which went into effect in June of 2017, require a general notice be posted in the work place.  The Act also requires employers to notify employees of their rights upon commencement of employment and within 10 days of an announcement of pregnancy.

Washington State Becomes the 5th State to Pass Paid Leave

On July 5, 2017, Washington joined Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Hawaii and California as Governor, Jay Inslee, signed SB 5975 into law.  The Washington law will provide 12 weeks of paid leave for purposes of bonding with a new child, caring for a seriously ill family member, military exigency, and for an employee’s own serious health condition.  Two extra weeks are allowed for pregnancy complications.  The program goes into effect January 1, 2020 and will be funded by employee contributions.  Employers may deduct the premiums beginning January 1, 2019. Washington State previously passed a paid family leave law in 2007 but due to the recession the program was never funded.

The Larkin Company is here to help.  Please contact us and we will schedule a time to review your plans and policies.

New York State Paid Family Leave Update

As most of you know, beginning January 1, 2018, New York employees may take job-protected, paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill family member, or to take leave for a qualifying military exigency. New York Paid Family Leave will be phased in over four years beginning with 8 weeks of paid leave in 2018.

Employer Obligations
Employers will need to either purchase a Paid Family Leave insurance policy or self-insure.  The premium will be paid by employee contributions and the New York Paid Family Leave benefit will be paid to employees by the insurance policy.  Employers may want to reach out to their current carrier of New York Disability Benefits.  More information may be found in the Employer’s section on the New York Paid Family Leave website.

Employers will also need to continue health insurance for employees who are receiving New York Paid Family Leave benefits.

Financial Services Regulations Finalized
On May 31, 2017, the New York State Department of Financial Services published the final Insurance Regulation 211 effective June 1, 2017.  Insurance Regulation 211 establishes the minimum standard for the form and rating of Family Leave Benefits Coverage.  The final regulation confirms that the family leave benefits coverage shall be “community rated.”  On June 1, 2017, the New York State Superintendent published the Decision on Premium Rate for Family Leave Benefits and Maximum Employee Contribution for Coverage Beginning January 1, 2018. The maximum employee contribution for coverage beginning January 1, 2018 shall be 0.126% of an employee’s weekly wage not to exceed the statewide average weekly wage.  Thereafter, the rate will be established yearly prior to September 1.  Payroll deductions to fund New York Paid Family Leave may begin on July 1, 2017.

Paid Family Leave Regulations Revised
The New York Workers’ Compensation Board proposed revisions to the New York Paid Family Leave Regulations at the end of May 2017 and the comment period has been extended until June 23, 2017.  The revisions include the following:

  • Amendments to the definition of employee including a list of exclusions such as certain persons employed under the Black Car Operator’s Fund and the New York Jockey Fund.  Subpart 355
  • Clarification on the eligibility for full and part-time employees. Employees working more than 20 hours per week become eligible after 26 consecutive weeks of work.  Employees working less than 20 hours become eligible become eligible on the 175th day of work. Subpart 380-2.5
  • The notice requirements for taking paid family leave have been clarified to state that if the leave is foreseeable, the employee is required to provide 20 days’ notice.  If the leave is not foreseeable the notice must be provided to the employer as soon as practicable. Subpart 380-3
  • Certification requirements have been added for military exigency, baby bonding leaves and family care leaves. Subpart 380-4

A full summary of the revisions may be found on the New York Workers’ Compensation Board website.
If you have questions regarding the New York Paid Family Leave, The Larkin Company is here to help.  Please contact us and we will schedule a time to review your plans and policies.

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California EDD Announces 2018 Changes to State Disability Insurance

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has announced that the 2018 employee contribution rate for State Disability Insurance (SDI) will increase to 1.0%.  The taxable wage base from which the contributions will be taken will increase from $110,902 to $114,967 and the maximum cost to an employee will be $1,149.67.

The EDD currently provides SDI and Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits equal to 55% of the employee’s base period earnings.  For 2018, the maximum weekly benefit will increase from $1,173 to $1,216.

Additional EDD changes that take effect January 1, 2018:

The one week waiting period for PFL claims has been eliminated but remains in place for SDI claims

  • The wage replacement rates for SDI and PFL increase to:
    •  70% for individuals who earned less than one-third of the state’s average quarterly wage during the highest quarter of their base period; OR
    • 60% for individuals who earned one-third or more of the state’s average quarterly wage during the highest quarter of their base period.

California permits employers to opt out of SDI and establish a private plan for Voluntary Disability Insurance (known as a “Voluntary Plan”), provided certain requirements are met.  Among these requirements are that the Voluntary Plan’s employee cost be no more than the cost for SDI and that benefits paid by the Plan are at least equal to what SDI would pay.

The Larkin Company will reach out to clients for whom we administer a Voluntary Plan to assist them in planning for 2018.

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Must an Employer Offer Leave as an Accommodation?

On September 20, 2017 the Seventh Circuit upheld a decision from a lower district court in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc that an employer did not violate the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide an employee with a long term medical leave of absence.  In the Severson case, employee Severson took twelve weeks of Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) due to severe back pain.  Prior to the end of the FMLA leave, Severson let his employer know he required surgery and requested an additional two to three months of leave.  The employer, Heartland, denied the request and terminated Severson.  Heartland invited Severson to reapply when he was medically cleared to work.  Severson did not reapply and instead sued Heartland for discrimination under the ADA for failing to provide him with “leave as a reasonable accommodation.”  The Seventh Circuit affirmed the lower court’s ruling stating, “If the proposed accommodation does not make it possible for the employee to perform his job, then the employee is not a ‘qualified individual’ as that term is defined in the ADA.”

In response to the Seventh Circuit decision, the EEOC filed a brief as amicus curiae supporting the reversal of the Seventh Circuit decision.  In the brief, the EEOC asserts, “When an employee requests a temporary leave of absence as a reasonable accommodation, the employee’s ability to perform the essential functions should be assessed as of the projected end of the leave period.”

As the EEOC opposes the Seventh Circuit decision, employers should continue to evaluate accommodation requests on a case by case basis. With every evaluation, it is important to engage in the interactive discussion process with the employee, and document the interactive process.  The Larkin Company is currently beta testing ADA services that we plan to offer all clients in addition to our current services.  Our ADA program is designed for Larkin to engage in and document the interactive process on behalf of our clients.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is located in Chicago, Illinois and has jurisdiction over the Central District of Illinois, Northern District of Illinois, Southern District of Illinois, Northern District of Indiana, Southern District of Indiana, Eastern District of Wisconsin and the Western District of Wisconsin.

The Larkin Company is here to help.  Please contact us and we will schedule a time to review your plans and policies.

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New York State Paid Family Leave Taxation Update

New York has released Notice N-17-12 which provides guidance regarding taxation of the Paid Family Leave Program beginning January 1, 2018.

  • Benefits will be taxable non-wage income and must be included in federal gross income.
  • Employees must request voluntary tax withholding as the taxes will not automatically be withheld.
  • Employers should deduct premiums from employees’ after-tax wages.
  • Employers should report employee contributions on Form W-2, Box 14.
  • Benefits should be reported on Form 1099-G by the State Insurance Fund and on Form 1099-MISC by all other carriers.

The guidance for New York Paid Family Leave benefits is limited to Notice N-17-12.  It is recommended that employers seek further guidance from a tax or employment counselor.  Employee contributions may begin as early as July 1, 2017.  Employers will want to reach out to their NY DBL/PFL carrier to determine the contribution schedule that best fits their PFL policy.

Beginning January 1, 2018, New York employees may take job-protected, paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill family member, or to take leave for a qualifying military exigency. New York Paid Family Leave will be phased in over four years beginning with 8 weeks of paid leave in 2018.
Please see our July newsletter for additional information regarding New York Paid Family Leave.

The Larkin Company is here to help.  Please contact us and we will schedule a time to review your plans and policies.

Close Project

Updates on State Laws: New York, Nevada, and Washington

New York State Paid Family Leave Finalized

On July 19, New York Governor Cuomo announced the final regulations implementing the New York Paid Family Leave Program (NYPFL).  NYPFL will provide income replacement, job protection, and continuation of insurance for employees who take leave to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill family member or assist when a family member is deployed on active military duty.  Private employers will need to obtain Paid Family Leave coverage for their employees effective January 1, 2018.
New York PFL provides a 50% weekly benefit for up to 8 weeks of leave beginning in 2018 and will gradually phase in increases to the benefit and duration to cap at a 67% weekly benefit up to 12 weeks in 2021.
What should employers with New York employees do now?

  • Employers should reach out to their New York Disability Benefits (NYDBL) carrier to obtain Paid Family Leave coverage.
  • Include New York Paid Family Leave information in the employee handbook or equivalent employee materials.
  • Display a poster regarding New York Paid Family Leave coverage in your place of business.  This poster will be available from your insurance carrier.

A fact sheet from the New York Workers’ Compensation Board is available here: https://www.ny.gov/sites/ny.gov/files/atoms/files/PFL_Employer_Fact_Sheet.pdf

Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act

On June 2, Nevada Governor, Brian Sandoval, signed SB 253, the Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act into law expanding the protections for pregnant employees.  The Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to female employees or applicants due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.  The Act also makes it unlawful for employers to take adverse action against an employee due to the request and or use of an accommodation.  Nevada employers with 15 or more employees must comply with the new Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act which goes into effect October 1, 2017.  Notice requirements which went into effect in June of 2017, require a general notice be posted in the work place.  The Act also requires employers to notify employees of their rights upon commencement of employment and within 10 days of an announcement of pregnancy.

Washington State Becomes the 5th State to Pass Paid Leave

On July 5, 2017, Washington joined Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Hawaii and California as Governor, Jay Inslee, signed SB 5975 into law.  The Washington law will provide 12 weeks of paid leave for purposes of bonding with a new child, caring for a seriously ill family member, military exigency, and for an employee’s own serious health condition.  Two extra weeks are allowed for pregnancy complications.  The program goes into effect January 1, 2020 and will be funded by employee contributions.  Employers may deduct the premiums beginning January 1, 2019. Washington State previously passed a paid family leave law in 2007 but due to the recession the program was never funded.

The Larkin Company is here to help.  Please contact us and we will schedule a time to review your plans and policies.

Close Project

New York State Paid Family Leave Update

As most of you know, beginning January 1, 2018, New York employees may take job-protected, paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill family member, or to take leave for a qualifying military exigency. New York Paid Family Leave will be phased in over four years beginning with 8 weeks of paid leave in 2018.

Employer Obligations
Employers will need to either purchase a Paid Family Leave insurance policy or self-insure.  The premium will be paid by employee contributions and the New York Paid Family Leave benefit will be paid to employees by the insurance policy.  Employers may want to reach out to their current carrier of New York Disability Benefits.  More information may be found in the Employer’s section on the New York Paid Family Leave website.

Employers will also need to continue health insurance for employees who are receiving New York Paid Family Leave benefits.

Financial Services Regulations Finalized
On May 31, 2017, the New York State Department of Financial Services published the final Insurance Regulation 211 effective June 1, 2017.  Insurance Regulation 211 establishes the minimum standard for the form and rating of Family Leave Benefits Coverage.  The final regulation confirms that the family leave benefits coverage shall be “community rated.”  On June 1, 2017, the New York State Superintendent published the Decision on Premium Rate for Family Leave Benefits and Maximum Employee Contribution for Coverage Beginning January 1, 2018. The maximum employee contribution for coverage beginning January 1, 2018 shall be 0.126% of an employee’s weekly wage not to exceed the statewide average weekly wage.  Thereafter, the rate will be established yearly prior to September 1.  Payroll deductions to fund New York Paid Family Leave may begin on July 1, 2017.

Paid Family Leave Regulations Revised
The New York Workers’ Compensation Board proposed revisions to the New York Paid Family Leave Regulations at the end of May 2017 and the comment period has been extended until June 23, 2017.  The revisions include the following:

  • Amendments to the definition of employee including a list of exclusions such as certain persons employed under the Black Car Operator’s Fund and the New York Jockey Fund.  Subpart 355
  • Clarification on the eligibility for full and part-time employees. Employees working more than 20 hours per week become eligible after 26 consecutive weeks of work.  Employees working less than 20 hours become eligible become eligible on the 175th day of work. Subpart 380-2.5
  • The notice requirements for taking paid family leave have been clarified to state that if the leave is foreseeable, the employee is required to provide 20 days’ notice.  If the leave is not foreseeable the notice must be provided to the employer as soon as practicable. Subpart 380-3
  • Certification requirements have been added for military exigency, baby bonding leaves and family care leaves. Subpart 380-4

A full summary of the revisions may be found on the New York Workers’ Compensation Board website.
If you have questions regarding the New York Paid Family Leave, The Larkin Company is here to help.  Please contact us and we will schedule a time to review your plans and policies.

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California State Disability Insurance Fund Forecast for 2018

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has released its May forecast for the 2018 Disability Insurance (DI) Fund.  The DI fund provides State Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave benefits for California employees.  The 2018 employee contribution rate is expected to remain at 0.9% for the fourth consecutive year; the maximum weekly benefit is expected to increase from $1,173 to $1,215; and the taxable wage base, from which DI contributions are taken, is expected to increase from $110,902 to $114,873.  The final 2018 DI Fund forecast is expected to be published in late October.

California employers may opt out of the state SDI if a private plan, Voluntary Disability Insurance (VDI), is established and certain requirements are met.  Two of these requirements are that the employee cost of VDI cannot be more than what the employee would pay for SDI and the benefits paid by VDI must be at least equal to what SDI would pay.  For more information about VDI, please contact The Larkin Company.

The Larkin Company will reach out to clients for whom we administer VDI to assist them in planning for 2018.

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New York State Paid Family Leave

Beginning January 1, 2018, New York employees may take job-protected, paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill family member, or for a qualifying military exigency. This benefit will be phased in over four years beginning with 8 weeks of paid leave in 2018, 10 weeks in 2019 and 12 weeks in 2021.  Full-time employees are eligible for this benefit after 26 weeks of employment.  The benefit will be 50% of an employee’s salary capped at 50% of the State Average Weekly Wage beginning in 2018, increasing to a 67% benefit capped at 67% of the State Average Weekly Wage in 2021.

What does this mean for Employers with New York Employees?

The February 2017 draft regulations of the New York Paid Family leave (expected to be finalized in June 2017) requires that employers meet the following requirements:

  • Employers must continue health coverage for any employee using NY Paid Family Leave.  However, employees are required to pay his or her portion of the premium while on leave.  (380-7.4)
  • Employers are required to reinstate employees taking Paid Family Leave to his or her employment.  (380-8.1)
  • Employers are required to purchase Paid Family Leave insurance or self-insure.  The premium for the policy may be paid for by your employees.  Employers need to contact their current New York Disability Benefits carrier to add Paid Family Leave coverage.  For employers with disability coverage, the disability and family leave benefits must be provided by a single insurance policy.  (380-10.2)
  • Complete the Employer portion of the Request for Paid Family Leave (Form PFL-1) for each employee who files a Paid Family Leave Claim.  (Draft version of form)

Final Paid Family Leave Regulations are pending and will be released by June 2017. If you have questions regarding New York Paid Family Leave, The Larkin Company is here to help.  Please contact us and we will schedule a time to review your plans and policies.

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Change to California Unemployment Code Relating to Disability Waiting Period

Change to California Unemployment Code Relating to Disability Waiting Period

Effective July 1, 2016, the 7-day waiting period will be waived for an employee who has already served a waiting period, if a subsequent disability claim is filed due to the same or related cause or condition within 60 days of returning to work.   SB 667, signed into law on September 28, will benefit employees who suffer from chronic conditions or who have a re-occurrence of a previous condition within a short duration of time.   Under current law, an employee that returns to work after a period of disability, and then goes back out of work within 14 days due to the same or similar condition, does not need to serve another 7-day waiting period before benefits are payable.  With this change, the 14-day time frame for employees to return to work and then file a subsequent claim for disability benefit due to the same or related condition will extend to 60 days.