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New York State Paid Family Leave Program Set To Begin January 1, 2018

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Amy L. Varel
Oct 24, 2017
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The New York Paid Family Leave Act (Paid Leave Law) is set to take effect on January 1, 2018.  The Paid Leave Law is broader than the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), as it covers virtually every private employee in New York State.  Under the law, paid leave coverage will generally be added to an employer’s existing disability insurance policy.  Employers have the option of deducting the cost of the premium for the paid leave policy through a payroll deduction, or covering the cost of the paid leave policy themselves.

In order to be eligible for benefits under the Paid Leave Law, employees with a regular work schedule of 20 or more hours per week must have worked for at least 26 consecutive workweeks preceding the first full day on which family leave begins.  Employees whose regular employment schedule is less than 20 hours per week are eligible after working 175 days.

The Paid Leave Law will cover leave taken by an employee:

  • To care for a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, spouse or domestic partner with a serious health condition;
  • To bond with the employee's child for the first twelve months after birth or after placement of a child for adoption or foster care with the employee; or
  • For certain reasons arising out of the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child or parent being on active duty (or notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the armed forces of the United States.

Anyone who takes leave under the Paid Leave Law is entitled, upon return, to be restored by the employer to the same or comparable position of employment held by the employee when the leave commenced.  In addition, the employer is required to maintain the employee’s existing health benefits for the duration of the leave as if the employee had continued to work during that time.  Employers may require that employees continue to pay their health insurance premium contributions during any period of paid leave.

Employees eligible for coverage under the Paid Leave Law will be allowed to take, during any 52-week calendar period, eight weeks of leave during 2018, to increase incrementally to twelve weeks in 2021. The amount that employees will receive for paid leave will start at 50% of the employee's average weekly wage, not to exceed 50% of the state average in 2018, and will grow to 67% of the employee's average weekly wage, not to exceed 67% of the state average in 2021.

Employers subject to the Paid Family Leave Act are required to ensure that employees are aware of the new law by January 1, 2018 by:

  • Displaying a poster detailing the Paid Family Leave Act; and
  • If the employer maintains written policies or a written handbook concerning employee benefits or leave rights, information concerning the new law and employee obligations under it must be included in the written policies or handbook.

New York State employers must comply with the new Paid Leave Law, including updating employee handbooks, by January 1, 2018.  Please contact us at 585.546.2500 for assistance with compliance with this new law.

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

About MCCM

McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979.  With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.

We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England.  They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts.  For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.