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.