2018 has been the first year that New York State required employers to offer Paid Family Leave (PFL) to eligible employees. PFL is intended to provide workers in New York with job-protected paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a relative with a serious health condition, or to relieve the pressure of having a loved one called to active duty in the military. Just as employers are required to provide Workers' Compensation insurance and NYS Disability insurance, they are required to provide Paid Family Leave coverage, though they may deduct the premium contributions from their employees.
As we approach the end of the first year there are some changes to the program coming in 2019 that will have an impact on employers and employees. Employers need to let their employees know that these changes are coming, and what they are. For our clients, HR One has developed a sample memo to distribute, available in the “Forms” section of the Member area of our website (login above).
What information should I include when informing employees of the changes?
The first thing for employees to know is that both the actual weekly dollar amount an employee may receive is going up, as is the period of time an employee may take the leave. In 2019 eligible employees may collect up to 55% of their average weekly wage, up to the state average weekly wage of $1,357.11, for a maximum weekly benefit of $746.41
In addition, eligible employees who qualify for PFL may be eligible for up to 10 weeks of job-protected leave in 2019, up from 8 weeks during the program’s first year.
Because PFL is paid for through employee contributions, in order to help finance the expansion of benefits, the contributions made by employees is necessarily increasing. Therefore employee contributions will be .153% of the weekly wage. These contributions are taken as after-tax payroll deductions. The cap on annual employee contributions is $107.97, up from $85.65 in 2018.
The benefit changes are effective on 1/1/2019. Employers may begin making the deductions from employee’s wages on 1/1/2019 and employees should see the changes on the first payroll of 2019.
Questions? Visit our Employer's Guide to Paid Family Leave or use the form below to contact HR One!