Many employees can look forward to spending more time with their loved ones in 2018.  The New York State Paid Family Leave program went into effect on January 1, 2018.  The program will now provide New Yorkers paid leave to care for a newborn child, a close relative with a serious health condition, or assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad for military services. 

While this is sure to be great news for many employees, as an employer, keeping up with new laws like this can be a challenge.  Here’s what you need to know and the changes to prepare for in the new year!

The program provides job-protected, paid time off so an employee can:

  • Bond with a newborn, whether it is a biological, adopted or fostered child
  • Care for a close relative with a serious health condition or
  • Assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service

The program became effective on January 1, 2018, and now, employees are entitled to up to 8 weeks off, at half of their weekly pay, with a cap of $652.96 per week.  By 2021, employees are entitled to get 12 weeks at 67% of their pay.[i]

So, who’s entitled to paid family leave?

  • Employees in New York State who have worked for their employer for at least six months
  • All employees who work for a private employer are entitled to the Paid Family Leave
  • Public employers may choose to offer the paid time off
  • Male and female employees are both entitled to the time off
  • Full-time employees with a work schedule of 20 or more hours per week are eligible after 26 consecutive weeks of employment
  • Part-time employees with a work schedule of less than 20 hours per week are eligible after 175 days of employment
  • Employees’ citizenship or immigration status do not affect eligibility

As an employer, keep these tips in mind:

  • Employers should pay for Paid Family Leave benefits through a payroll deduction
  • Employers’ insurance carrier will be able to receive and process Paid Family Leave requests – so, it is important for you as the employer to coordinate with your carrier sooner rather than later
  • Paid Family Leave guarantees employees the ability to return to their job, and continue with their health insurance when they get back

Keeping up with all these changes can be difficult.  However, being prepared will ultimately make you a better business owner, and keep you up to speed with what your staff and team are entitled to in the long run.

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[i] In 2019, employees will be entitled to 10 weeks of paid leave at 55% of their average weekly wage.  Come 2020, employees will still be entitled to 10 weeks of paid leave, but at 60% of their average weekly wage.

 

Elizabeth Vulaj

Associate Attorney

(212) 865-9848

Email Elizabeth

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