New York Paid Family Leave: Do I Really Have To?

April 2, 2018
Struggling with some of the nuances of New York's Paid Family Leave program? Check out this Q&A.

The benefits of New York's Paid Family Leave program are already clear. The details, on the other hand, can be challenging. If you're an employer struggling with some nuances of PFL, check out the Q&A below. Find out if you “really have to.”

Q. We already offer a paid parental leave at our company, do we really have to offer this also?

A. Yes. If you're a private employer, the state requires you to offer this paid family leave program. Remember, the benefits go beyond new parents. PFL also provides job-protected time off for employees who need to care for a family member. And employees can take paid time off if a family member is called to active military duty.

Even if your company provides richer paid leave benefits, you have to offer this statutory program. You may continue to offer your company-sponsored leave along with PFL.

Q. Do I really have to provide the employee with notice of rights under both PFL and the Family Medical Leave Act? Even when they run at the same time for the same reason?

A. Yes. Noting throughout your HR policies that the two programs will run concurrently is a good start. When employees file claims, it's also important to directly notify them of their rights under both PFL and FMLA. That will help ensure they understand that the two programs will run together.

If you don't follow this notification process, your employees may be allowed to “stack” their job protected leaves — even if your policy call for concurrent leaves.

Q. Do I really have to set up payroll deductions to pay premiums?

A. No. The state of New York's rules call for the program to be employee-paid via payroll deduction. But employers may choose to pay the premium amount for employees instead.

If you decide to deduct the premiums, withhold 0.126% of employees' wages until they meet an annual cap of $85.56. Employees who earn less than $67,907.84 in 2018 will not meet the annual cap, and you'll continue to withhold premiums from their paychecks throughout the year. Learn more.

Q. Do I need to allow employees to “opt-out” of PFL?

A. Yes. You need to allow employees to sign a waiver form to opt out of the program if they know they won't meet the eligibility threshold while working for you.

The waiver means they won't have payroll deductions for PFL or receive any benefits. You're required to keep the written waiver on file. if the employee later meets the eligibility requirements, then you'll need to revoke the waiver and collect premium back to the date the employee signed the waiver.

Q. Do I have to allow my employees to take intermittent bonding leave? We don’t allow that under FMLA.

A. Yes. Under the FMLA, an employer may choose to only allow employees to take bonding leave time in a consecutive block. PFL is different. It gives employees the right to take any type of leave which qualifies as intermittent leave. They must take a full work day off. And they're not eligible to receive a PFL benefit for any day in which they work part of the workday.

You may run into other PFL challenges or burdens that cause you to wonder, “Do I really have to?” Remember, The Standard is always here to help our clients solve the tough questions. Call us anytime.

 

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: ny.gov/programs/new-york-state-paid-family-leave.

 

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PFL Administration / New York