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New York Paid Family Leave Commences

New York Paid Family Leave has officially begun (Jan. 1st 2018). But…what is it? I’ve talked to a large number of employers and an even larger number of employees who have no idea what it is.

Like most insurance coverage, understanding New York Paid Family Leave seems like a daunting task. However, after a thorough review, I can tell you, it isn’t.

What is New York Paid Family Leave?

New York Paid Family Leave is a mandatory benefit for non-public employees. It provides wage replacement when temporarily leaving work for a specific life event. The events include:

  • The birth or adoption of child
  • Caring for a sick family member
  • Assistance during military deployment

The benefit is designed to encourage New Yorkers to spend time with their families during these important times. It allows fathers to spend time with a newborn child and his family. It further allows for the opportunity to be with a sick grandparent, whether that grandparent resides in New York or not. Paid Family Leave also provides the chance for families to be together leading up to a family member’s military deployment.

What are the financial benefits of New York Paid Family Leave?

PFL Benefits

Paid Family Leave is designed to replace a percentage of an employee’s income while away from work. The basic limits are as follows:

  1. 8-weeks per year can be taken (in chunks or consecutively).
  2. 50% of average wages are paid to the employee.
  3. Average wage is calculated by using the prior 8-weeks of pay.
  4. The average wage is the lessor of the actual average wage for the employee or the New York State average weekly wage.
  5. For 2018 New York is using the 2016 average weekly wage of $1,305.92.

 Who pays for these benefits?

The employees pay for them through payroll deduction. This occurs in the same way short term disability benefits are paid. The weekly contribution is made up of .126 of the weekly gross wage and capped at the first $1,305.92 of the week. The claims for these benefits are paid by the specific insurance carrier. They are not paid by the employer. Typically the insurance is provided by the same carrier that provides the short term disability coverage.

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