New York paid family leave law takes effect in 2018; here's what employers need to know

With the new statewide New York Paid Family Leave Program (PFL) becoming effective soon, employers are required to begin employee wage deductions for eligible employees between now and January 1, 2018. Benefits for New York paid family leave become available for eligible employees beginning January 1, 2018. Below are some frequently asked questions regarding the New York Paid Family Leave Program:

Q: Which employers does this affect? 

A: An employer with employees working in New York for 30 or more days in a calendar year must implement paid family leave coverage and set up payroll deduction.

Family leave is a benefit for people who work in New York; it does not matter where the employer is headquartered or where the employee lives.

Q: What are some eligibility examples regarding the New York Paid Family Leave Program?

A: Here are three examples that might be useful for employers:

→ An employee who works from his or her home in New York is covered even if the employer is located outside of New York State.

→ An employee required to travel occasionally into New York State to perform duties, such as a salesperson, will not be considered a New York State employee unless the employment is based in the state.

→ An employer located outside of New York State does not need to cover employees who live in New York but work outside of New York.

Q: How does the family leave program sync with payroll?

A: The New York Paid Family Leave Program is a state-run insurance program funded entirely by payroll contributions. Employers may deduct the premium cost for the paid family leave insurance policy from employees through a payroll deduction or choose to cover the cost themselves.

The maximum employee contribution in 2018 is 0.126 percent of an employee’s weekly wage, capped at 0.126 percent of the annualized New York State Average Weekly Wage.

Q: How does the program work with short-term disability insurance?

A: Paid family leave coverage will typically be added to an employer’s existing disability insurance policy. Employers should contact their current disability benefits insurance carrier to learn more about paid family leave coverage, including when they should begin collecting payroll contributions for paid family leave.

Q: How many weeks of leave will applicable employees receive? 

A: Passed in 2017, the New York Paid Family Leave Program takes effect January 1, 2018, granting eight weeks of leave, paid at 50 percent of salary, and gradually increases the benefit to 12 weeks of leave, paid at 67 percent of salary, by January 1, 2021.

Eligible employees in the state of New York may use family leave for inability to work due to bonding with and care for a new child, through birth, adoption, or foster care placement, care of a seriously ill family member, or care for family during family member’s active military service.

Contact us

Have questions regarding the New York Paid Family Leave Program? Contact a Plexus client service team representative in Deer Park, Ill. (847-307-6100), Chicago (312-606-4800), Dallas (972-770-5010) or Oklahoma City (405-840-3033). We're here to help -- and we're happy to help.