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New York Family Medical Leave Law

04/14/17

On July 1, 2017, New York’s Paid Family Leave Benefits Proposed Law (“PFLBL”) is supposed to go into effect, although employees can’t start using the benefit until January 1, 2018.  

This proposed law will provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of paid family leave, to be funded through a payroll tax on full-time and part-time employees. The new law will allow employees time off to care for an infant or for a family member with a serious health condition, or to assist with family obligations when a family member is called into active military service.

Both full-time and part-time employees are eligible for paid family leave benefits. Full-time employees become eligible after 26 consecutive weeks of work, and part-time workers become eligible on the 175th day of work, regardless of the number of hours they work per week and regardless of the number of employees employed by their employer. Thus, employees may be eligible for New York paid family leave benefits even if they are not eligible for leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  

In contrast, the New York’s Paid Family Leave Benefits Law (“PFLBL”) provides paid family leave to eligible employees, and applies to every employer regardless of size, except sole-proprietors. 

Under the regulations, an employer that fails to provide paid family leave under the PFLBL will be subject to a fine of up to .5% of the employer’s weekly payroll, plus an additional sum of not more than $500. Employers that fail to collect premiums for paid family leave coverage will be liable for payments of family leave benefits. Similarly, employers that fail to continue health insurance benefits to employees out on paid family leave will be liable for employee medical costs for those on leave.

 This will be 100% ee funded through a rider to the employers NYS DBL policy. There is an exclusion for part-time employees who are expected to work less than 175 days. There are no exclusions for older employees with no family or who would prefer to opt out. All employees are expected to contribute to this program regardless of whether they want to or not.

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