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Background Summary: 

New York Paid Family Leave (NY PFL) is a benefit program that offers paid leave to New York employees while they bond with a new child, care for a close relative with a serious health condition, or when an employee’s family member is called to active military service. NY PFL is funded through employee payroll contributions that are set each year to match the cost of coverage. The employee contribution rate is reviewed annually. Please refer to our article, “Get Ready for New York Paid Family Leave,” for more information about eligibility and general requirements.  

NY PFL took effect January 1, 2018, and was designed to phase in over a period of 4 years.  This means there will be updates to benefit and leave levels (as well as other requirements) through 2021. 

What are the changes to NY PFL for 2020? 

Employers should become familiar with the following changes to the requirements of NY PFL in order to ensure compliance with leave requests beginning January 2020: 

  • The amount of leave employees are eligible to take will remain at 10 weeks. 
  • Employees who take NY PFL will receive 60% (increased from 55% in 2019) of the lesser of their average weekly wage or the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW).  The current SAWW in New York is $1,401.17 which means the maximum required weekly benefit for 2020 is $840.70 
  • The allowable employee contribution rate will increase to 0.270% of an employee’s gross wages each pay period, meaning that an employee’s maximum annual contribution will increase to $196.72. Employees earning less than the current SAWW will contribute less than the annual cap. 

Please refer to our article “New York Updates FAQ on 2020 Changes to New York Paid Family Leave” for more information about these updates and the updated FAQ released by the New York State agency. 

 

General Employer Considerations and Action Items: 

 

Sequoia One Clients ONLY: Your HRBP will be able to assist you with NY PFL employee leave requests and your Sequoia One Payroll team will update the employee contribution rate withholding for 2020, as necessary. 

  • Post a Workforce Notice  Your insurance carrier will provide a Notice of Compliance stating you have PFL insurance. Post and maintain this notice in a conspicuous place, similar to what is required for Worker’s Compensation, Disability Insurance coverage, and State Labor Law Posters. 
  • Inform Your Employees About NY PFL  Your Sequoia One on-boarding portal will be updated to inform your employees about NY PFL requirements and their tax obligations required based on their work hours. Please reach out to your HRBP with any questions. 
  • Review the Leave Process with your HRBP – Review the process of placing an employee on a leave of absence (“LOA”) with your HRBP prior to the employee taking the requested leave.   

 

Sequoia Consulting Group Clients ONLY 

  • Ensure you have NY PFL Coverage – If you are self-insured for disability, you may purchase a separate PFL policy or apply to self-insure. Generally, PFL will be added to the disability insurance policy you already carry. 
  • Post a Workforce Notice – Your insurance carrier will provide a Notice of Compliance stating you have PFL insurance. If you are self-insured, you can get this notice by contacting the Board at Certificates@wcb.ny.gov to obtain the required notice. Post and maintain this notice in a conspicuous place, similar to what is required for Worker’s Compensation and Disability Insurance coverage. 
  • Inform Your Employees About NY PFL – Update appropriate written materials that you give your employees, such as employee handbooks, etc. 
  • Update Your Payroll Processes – Update internal processes or work with your external payroll manager to collect the appropriate employee payroll withholding.  
  • Inform Non-Eligible Employees About Waivers – Identify employees who will not qualify for the minimum amount of time required for eligibility and let them know they can choose to waive coverage. Employees will need to complete a waiver. Keep a copy of completed waivers on file. 
  • Be sure you are Familiarize Yourself with NY PFL Forms and Other Resources. You are not required to use the forms provided by the state. Review and fill out Part B of the applicable claim form when received from an employee and return it to the employee within 3 business days (this process is outlined on the claim form). The employee should then submit the form and supporting documentation to the insurance carrier. The insurance carrier will accept or deny the claim within 18 days. 

Important NY PFL Resources:

 

The information and materials on this blog are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal or tax advice. Information provided in this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments and may vary by jurisdiction. The content on this blog is for general informational purposes only and does not apply to any particular facts or circumstances. The use of this blog does not in any way establish an attorney-client relationship, nor should any such relationship be implied, and the contents do not constitute legal or tax advice. If you require legal or tax advice, please consult with a licensed attorney or tax professional in your jurisdiction. The contributing authors expressly disclaim all liability to any persons or entities with respect to any action or inaction based on the contents of this blog.

 

Lizet Ramirez – Lizet is a Client Compliance Manager for Sequoia One, where she works with our clients to optimize and streamline benefits compliance. In her free time, Lizet enjoys live music, travel, hiking and spa days.