New York Paid Family Leave: Here’s What You Need to Know

What New York Employers need to know about New York Paid Family Leave, NY PFL. www.daigletravers.comWhat is New York Paid Family Leave?

NY PFL is an insurance policy for employees who need job-protected paid time off because they need:

  • Time to bond with their newborn baby, adopted or fostered child.
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition.
  • To assist a relative while a family member is deployed abroad on active military service.


What are the PFL benefits for 2018 in New York?

In 2018, New York Paid Family Leave entitles an employee up to 8 weeks of leave while receiving 50% of their average weekly wage (AWW). The AWW is based on the income of the 8 weeks leading up to the start of their leave. The most an employee may receive is 50% of the NY State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) or 50% or the AWW, whichever is less.


What is the New York State Average Weekly Wage?

The New York State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) will be recalculated each year. The SAWW for 2018 is $1,305.92 which means the maximum weekly benefit an employee on PFL can receive is $652.96.


Do employers have to offer Paid Family Leave?

All private employers based out of New York must provide PLF insurance. If an employer already has Paid Family Leave included in their benefits package, they must ensure that it meets or exceeds the state requirements. If, as part of that benefit package, an employer decides to pay their employee’s full pay while they are on leave, they may submit a request for reimbursement to the insurance company up to the limits of NY PFL.


Does Paid Family Leave replace Short Term Disability?

No. These are two different coverages however it should be noted that they may not be used at the same time. And, if an event occurs in which both coverages are relevant, they may be used consecutively but the combination of the two may not exceed 26 weeks in any 52-week period.


How do employers get a NY PFL policy?

PLF can be added as a rider to an existing disability benefits insurance policy if it is carrier provided. If an employer self-insures, it can purchase a standalone Paid Family Leave policy. *A person who is self-employed and does not have any employees will have to purchase disability coverage with the PFL policy.


Who pays for NY Paid Family Leave?

The employee pays for the benefits with a payroll deduction just like any other disability benefit. The employer may choose to pay for this benefit on behalf of their employees. Either way, it is up to the employer to see that the contribution is withheld from their employees’ pay and that the insurance premium is paid. The amount withheld is .126% of their pay up to the first $1,305.92 (of after tax wages) for each week. The contributions should be reported on the W-2 form in box 14.


Can my employees opt out of participating in Paid Family Leave benefits?

PFL is not optional for most employees. The only exception is for a temporary employee who will not be working for the same company long enough for the benefit to become effective. For a temporary employee to be exempt from participating they must submit a waiver which should be provided by the employer.


Who is eligible for NYS Paid Family Leave?

Firstly, any employee who works for a New York state based private employer is eligible for NY PFL (regardless of citizenship or immigration status). In addition, full time employees (who work 20 or more hours per week) are eligible after working 26 consecutive weeks. Finally, part time employees (who work less than 20 hours per week) are eligible after working 175 days, which do not need to be consecutive.


Will the NY PFL benefits be the same next year?

No, several things will change:

  • SAWW – The New York State Average Weekly Wage will be recalculated each year.
  • # of Weeks – In the next three years, the number of weeks allowed with PFL will increase. In 2019, employees will be allowed up to 10 weeks and in 2021, employees will be allowed 12 weeks.
  • % of SAWW – The percentage of the Average Weekly Wage that will be paid to employees taking Paid Family Leave will increase to 55% in 2019, 60% in 2020 and 67% in 2021.


Navigating the intricacies of commercial insurance in New York can be overwhelming. At Daigle & Travers, we can guide you through the process and help you find appropriate insurance. We insure clients all over New York including Long Island and the Hamptons. For more information on disability benefits or New York Paid Family Leave, call our experts at 203-655-6974.