Ready or Not...Here Comes NYS Paid Family Leave!

FamilyLeaveOLJanuary 1, 2018 marks the start of the most generous paid family leave program in the nation. Once fully phased in, the New York Paid Family Leave Benefits Law (PFL) will provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave for eligible employees to bond with a new child (including adopted or foster children), to care for a family member (including grandparents/grandchildren) with a serious health condition, or to assist with family obligations when a family member is called into active military service.

There are still a lot of unknowns concerning the final implications of PFL, but the impact on employers could be significant. While the program is employee-funded, businesses will still shoulder hidden costs and the burden of behind the scenes tasks such as administering the program, outsourcing temporary coverage, or paying overtime to cover missing workers’ hours.

PFL Highlights
  • Takes effect January 1, 2018.
  • For the first year, employees are entitled to eight weeks of job-protected leave, with a paid benefit of 50% of the employee’s average weekly wage, capped at $652.96 per week.
  • Available to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or address certain obligations when a family member is called into active military service.
  • Employers must provide written guidance to employees in the employer’s handbook or other written material.
  • The 2018 maximum employee contribution is 0.126% of an employee’s annual wages, capped at $85.56 per year.
  • Pay deductions may start as early as July 1, 2017.

Our labor and employment group is equipped to address issues you may face with this new law. We provide a big picture, holistic view, to minimize risk and manage business decisions. Our attorneys have experience in similar types of leave management and a comprehensive background in the implementation of best practices. Our goal is to put you in the optimal position, in advance of PFL, for legal compliance—with minimal risk and disruption to your business.

PFL Preparation Checklist
  • Determine if you need PFL coverage and how you will obtain it
  • Consider how and when to start employee pay deductions
  • Review, revise, and coordinate all leave and paid time off policies
  • Prepare and implement a PFL policy
  • Explore staffing solutions to cover absences
  • Educate and train staff

  • Related Blog Posts 

    In the News

    Additional Materials

    • New York State Paid Family Leave Fact Sheet
    • "The Final Countdown: Are you ready for New York’s Paid Family Leave Benefits Law?," HSE Institute: Labor and Employment Law Conference - April 5, 2017 - download presentation (PDF)
    • New York Paid Family Leave Webinar - August 9, 2017 - download webinar
    • New York Paid Family Leave Benefit Law - April 12, 2016 - download webinar

    To learn more, please contact a Harter Secrest & Emery Labor and Employment team member in Rochester or Buffalo. Visit the HSE Labor and Employment Blog for updates on this and other important labor laws.