What is the New York State Paid Family Leave Program?

The New York Paid Family Leave Program will provide most employees in New York with paid family leave to help working families balance caring for their loved ones and protecting their economic security. The Program provides job protection to employees and ensures that they are entitled to be reinstated to their same or comparable job upon return from NYPFL. Employers must continue employees’ health insurance while they are on NYPFL, however employers may require that employees continue to pay their health insurance premium contributions.

The Program will go into effect January 1, 2018 and will eventually provide up to 12 weeks of paid family leave benefits to most employees in New York. The Program is designed to phase in over four years, starting with 8 weeks in 2018, increasing gradually until the Program reaches full implementation on January 1, 2021. See below for the rollout schedule.

Scheduled Rollout

The New York Paid Family Leave Program is designed to be phased in over 4 years. Here’s the rollout timeline:

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 fostering of a child;
  2. care for a family member (spouse, parent, child, parent-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, domestic partner) with a serious health condition;
  3. or attend to obligations arising because their spouse, child, domestic partner, or parent is on active duty abroad or has been notified of an impending call or order of active military duty abroad.

Who is eligible?

Most full-time and part-time private employees in New York State will be eligible for NYPFL.

Employees who work a regular schedule of at least 20 hours a week will be eligible after working for an employer for 26 or more consecutive weeks. Employees with a regular schedule of less than 20 hours per week are eligible after working 175 days.

Generally, employees cannot choose whether to participate in the Program unless the terms of their employment are temporary and they do not plan to stay at the company long enough to become eligible (for example, seasonal employees). Public employees (employees that work for the State) will be eligible if their employer opts into the Program.

As an employer, do I have to allow eligible employees to take Paid Family Leave?

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.

Who pays for the benefit?

NYPFL is entirely funded by employees. Employers may collect the cost of Paid Family Leave through payroll deductions. The maximum employee contribution in 2018 will be 0.126% of an employee’s weekly wage up to the annualized New York State Average Weekly Wage. Employers can use the ny.gov/pflcalculator to view an estimate of an employee’s weekly payroll deduction.

How will Justworks help?

From January 1, 2018, eligible employees on Justworks platform will automatically contribute a maximum of 0.126% of their weekly wages. The amount will be deducted from employees’ post-tax income and will appear on their paystubs as a post-tax deduction.

The deduction is capped at a maximum deduction of $1.65/week for 2018 (based on NY’s Average Weekly Wage cap for 2018 of $1,305.92).

Employers will be required to obtain Paid Family Leave Insurance. For Justworks customers, this will be administered through MetLife and will be automatically added to the New York Statuatory Disability insurance you already carry. 

Making a claim

Justworks uses MetLife to administer NYPFL benefits. Currently, MetLife is working with New York State to finalize the claims process. As soon as we have more detailed information about what employees need to do to make a claim and what the process for receiving the benefits will look like, we will update you here.

Can an employee take Paid Family Leave and NY statutory disability leave together?

New York statutory disability leave (DBL) and New York Paid Family Leave benefits cannot be claimed at the same time. DBL can only be used for an individual’s own disability whereas Paid Family Leave is intended to be used to care for others. Examples include bonding with your child, caring for an ill family member, or for a qualifying emergency related to a family member’s military duty or call to active duty.

Combined, DBL and NYPFL must not amount to more than the 26-week benefit max during any 52 consecutive calendar weeks.

Paid Family Leave and Other Types of Leave

Employees can choose to have NYPFL time run concurrently with any vacation/ PTO time so that they receive their full pay during periods of leave, but they cannot be required to do so. If the employer requires accrued PTO to be used concurrently with FMLA, and the employee is eligible for both NYPFL and FMLA that will run concurrently, accrued PTO will run concurrently with both FMLA and NYPFL.

Although an employee’s own illness is not covered under NYPFL, for maternity leave, a woman may elect to take NYPFL instead of disability leave, or take disability leave for maternity and then NYPFL bonding leave.

Employees may not use NYPFL while they are collecting workers’ compensation benefits and are not working.

If an employee takes paid family leave, how are taxes impacted?

Paid Family Leave benefits need to be reported on a 1099-Misc as taxable, non-wage income. The benefit amount be included in federal gross income. Paid Family Leave benefits are not subject to employee or employer FICA, FUTA or SUTA.

Disclaimer

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.

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