New York State Paid Family Leave (NYS PFL)
Recently, the New York State Paid Family Leave law was passed and it presents some important changes for you and your family. This communication is to provide information on this new law as well as an important update on the Federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
FAQ's can be found here: PFL FAQ's
Paid Family Leave Statement of Rights (PFL-271)
Notice of Compliance- Paid Family Leave (PFL-120)
New York Paid Family Leave (PFL) provides job-protection and income replacement to eligible employees who need to be away from work for the following reasons:
to take care of a seriously ill family member (spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild);
to bond with a newborn, adopted, or foster child in the first 12 months after birth or placement;
or to attend to family issues related to a qualifying military deployment.
When practicable, employees must provide 30 days notice when the leave is foreseeable. Private employers in New York State, including the Research Foundation (RF), are required to comply with the law.
RF employees working 20 or more hours per week are eligible for coverage after 26 consecutive weeks of employment. Employees who work less than 20 hours per week are eligible after completing 175 days worked. Employees must work in New York State to be eligible for this benefit.
The law is effective January 1, 2018 and eligible employees who experience a qualifying event can apply for benefits as of this date even if the qualifying event began before the effective date of the law. For example, an employee who takes a qualifying leave to care for a seriously ill family member beginning December 27, 2017 through January 5, 2018 may apply for PFL benefits for the period January 1 through January 5. In addition, eligible employees can apply for leave to bond with a newborn, adopted or foster child as long as the birth or placement happened within 12 months of the effective date of the law.
The New York PFL benefit for 2018 is set as follows:
50% of your average weekly wage (AWW), not to exceed 50% of the New York State AWW, which is currently $1,306, for a maximum of 8 weeks.
The benefit is set to increase each year for the following three years, as follows:
2019 55% of your AWW, not to exceed 55% of the New York State AWW for a maximum of 10 weeks
2020 60% of your AWW, not to exceed 60% of the New York State AWW for a maximum of 10 weeks
2021 67% of your AWW, not to exceed 67% of the New York State AWW for a maximum of 12 weeks
Eligible employees may use appropriate accruals while on leave and should discuss this option with your campus Human Resources representative.
The state has mandated that all employees will pay for the new coverage through payroll deduction at a rate of 0.126% of weekly wages, not to exceed 0.126% of the statewide AWW, which is expected to increase each year. As of right now, that average is $1,306, which means your deduction will not exceed $1.65 per week. Deductions will begin in your December 8, 2017 paycheck.
Employees whose appointment meets (or is expected to meet at the time of hire) the eligibility criteria cannot opt out of the program and payroll deductions. In rare circumstances, employees may opt out of the program if they will never meet the eligibility criteria. If you do not believe you have met, or will ever meet, the eligibility criteria listed above, then you may submit a waiver form to opt out of the program and payroll deductions. Waivers will be reviewed and approved by the campus Human Resources Department. If you opt out of payroll deductions and subsequently meet the eligibility criteria, then payroll deductions that were missed will need to be paid retro-active to December 1, 2017 or date of hire, whichever is later. The waiver form is located at https://www.ny.gov/sites/ny.gov/files/atoms/files/PFLWaiver.pdf.
PFL and FMLA
The federal FMLA provides job-protected leave for many of the same reasons as PFL. Because the new law shares many of the same requirements and definitions as the FMLA, in most cases the two leave of absence programs will be applied concurrently, NOT one after the other.
Changes to FMLA
Effective January 1, 2018 the RF will use a look back method for determining FMLA availability. For those who are eligible, this means that the RF will look back over the last 12 months prior to the effective date of an FMLA request. Any FMLA used during that period will be deducted when determining the balance available for the current request. For the period November 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017, employees will have the option of using whichever methodology is more advantageous to them. In addition, effective January 1, 2018, eligible employees will be able to take intermittent FMLA leave for the birth or placement of a child.
PFL and Disability
PFL will never run concurrently with New York State mandated disability benefits (DBL), which provide a benefit when you need to miss work because of your own disabling illness or injury. PFL only comes into play when you need to miss work to care for someone else. Eligible employees can use a maximum of 26 weeks PFL and disability in a 52 week period.