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New York State Begins to Phase in Nation’s Most Comprehensive Paid Family Leave Benefit

The nation’s first 12-week paid family leave policy is set to begin implementation next year in New York. While the state-wide program will be phased in beginning in 2018, payroll deductions for the leave benefit began at the beginning of July 2017.

Here are the details on which employees will be covered by the new legislation and what businesses will need to do in order to be compliant with the changes.

Who’s eligible?

Under the legislation, any full-time employee who has worked for the same employer in New York State for at least 26 weeks will be eligible for paid family leave. Part time employees must have worked for the company for at least 175 days.

In order to qualify for coverage, eligible employees must have a qualifying event, including bonding with a new child (within 12 months of a birth, adoption or foster placement); providing care for a serious medical condition of the employee’s child, spouse, domestic partner, parent/parent-in law, sibling, grandchild or grandparent; or providing care following a member of the family being called to active military service.

How much paid leave do they receive?

For the year starting January 1, 2018, employees are eligible for 8 weeks of leave, which increases to 10 weeks for the following two years and then reaches 12 weeks starting January 1, 2021. The leave can be taken intermittently in increments of one full day or one fifth of the weekly benefit.

Source: www.ny.gov

How much money are employees eligible to receive?

Much like the amount of time off, the amount to be paid out will also be phased in incrementally. In the first year (2018), the benefit allows for 50 percent of an employee’s average weekly wage, capped to 50 percent of the statewide average weekly wage. Upon full roll-out in 2021, employees will be eligible for 67 percent of their average weekly wage, capped at 67 percent of the state average weekly wage.

Who’s paying?

The program will be funded entirely by the employee through a nominal payroll deduction. A maximum rate of employees’ contributions will be established each year. Abel will provide the required postings when they become available and update annually so that you can be sure that you are in compliance.

What else do they get?

As is the case with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Paid Family Leave also provides job protection guarantees and requires the continuation of benefits during the employees’ absence.

What do we need to get started?

To set up an eligible employee, you will first need employees to provide you with written notice and proof of the need for family leave from the family leave care recipient’s healthcare provider.

What do I need to do now?

While we don’t yet know how much should be withheld from payroll to pay for this benefit, there is still action that you can take to prepare. Abel recently issued an employee notice in both English and Spanish that explains the legislation in detail. Click here to read the  Abel HR NYS Client Paid Leave Notice. We recommend that you distribute this notice to employees and post it in an area in plain view where workers can readily reference this information.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us – we’d be happy to clear up any confusion and address any concerns.

For more information on the legislation, please click here.

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