Can You Force Employees to File for NY Paid Family Leave?

March 19, 2018
When employees choose not to file for NY Paid Family Leave — what's an employer to do?

What happens when an employee could qualify for Paid Family Leave — but chooses not to file? What's an employer to do? Follow these tips to manage the situation.

1. Proceed with care: You can't force an employee to file.
Even though your employees are entitled to this new great benefit, they may choose not to complete the paperwork or pursue PFL. You need to still notify employees of their rights under the PFL program. But if they choose not to file, you can't force the benefit payment.

2. Explain that employees can't “save up” their job-protected leave.
Some employees mistakenly think they can build up more time off by not filing for PFL while taking time off under the FMLA. That's not true if the FMLA leave is for a reason that would also apply under PFL. In those situations, if an employee decides not to file for PFL, you can work with your carrier to deduct that time off from the total maximum bank of available leave.

The FMLA time off will still reduce the overall amount of PFL time an employee could be eligible for in a year — but no PFL benefits will be paid. Once employees understand how it works, they're more likely to file a claim for PFL benefits.

3. Always provide employees with notice of their rights.
Your employee handbook and worksite poster about PFL are not enough notice for your employees. When employees tell you they will be (or are going) out of work for a reason that is covered under FMLA and PFL, you need to provide their notice of rights under both programs. If you don't notify them of their PFL rights, you could forgo your right to have FMLA run concurrent with PFL. That would allow employees to have additional job-protected time.

Remember — helping employees understand their choices and rights is in your best interests too. You'll maintain compliance with New York's PFL rules. And help employees get benefits that can help pay the bills while they're caring for family members.


To find out more about PFL and other regulations that affect employees, follow The Standard on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter with the hashtag #PaidFamilyLeave, and subscribe to this blog's RSS feed to receive updated content as new information becomes available.

For more details about New York Paid Family Leave, visit:


PFL Administration / New York