Regulations Issued For The New York Paid Family Leave Benefits Law

June 6, 2017 | Employment & Labor

On May 31, 2017, New York’s Department of Financial Services published the much anticipated final regulations for Paid Family Leave.  The regulations provide critical information that will help New York employers comply with these new legal requirements that are set to go into effect on January 1, 2018.  The law provides eligible employees with job-protected, paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious health condition or to help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service.

Although the substantive provisions of the law do not go into effect for about six months, employers must take action immediately as the payroll deductions that are required to fund the program go into effect on July 1, 2017.  Therefore, New York employers should begin a review of their leave policies as well as confer with their Human Resources and/or payroll affiliates as soon as possible.

Paid Family Leave benefits are slated to increase gradually over the course of the next few years.  The amount of pay an employee is eligible to receive is dependent on the individual employee’s salary. Starting on January 1, 2018, employees will be eligible for eight weeks of paid leave, earning 50% of their weekly pay (capped at 50% of the statewide average weekly pay).  The number of weeks available for leave and amount of pay increases yearly until 2021, when employees will be eligible for the full twelve weeks of paid leave and earn 67% of their weekly pay (capped at 67% of the statewide average weekly pay).

The leave benefits are to be funded by a weekly contribution of each employee’s weekly wages. The rate NY’s Paid Family Leave is 0.126% of the employee’s weekly wage (capped at New York State’s current average weekly wage of $1,305.92). Thus, the largest contribution equals $1.65 per week per employee in 2018, regardless of gender, age, or other factors.

Employees are eligible to receive leave benefits after working for their employer for at least six months.  Notably, unlike New York State disability benefits where there is a waiting period before employees start to receive benefits.  Paid leave benefits will be available on the first full day that leave is required for eligible employees.

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