The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees with 12 weeks of job-protected leave, but federal law does not require this leave to be paid–effectively leaving the decision in the hands of covered employers. In the absence of paid family or sick leave provisions in federal law, a growing number of states, including California, New York, Washington, and Arizona have begun to fill the gap. Stay tuned as we discuss major developments in the 2017 leave landscape, and how Zenefits can help you comply with the new regulations in your state or city!
With its Paid Family Leave Benefits Law (“PFLBL”) set to go into effect on January 1, 2018, New York is the latest to join the cohort of states requiring some form of paid family leave, including California, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Washington. From January 2018 onwards, eligible employees in the state of New York will receive job-protected paid leave for family and medical reasons, such as bonding with new children, and caring for family members with serious health conditions, or during active military service.
NOTE: New York has yet to issue the finalized Paid Family Leave regulations in the aftermath of its latest comment period, which ended this month (June 2017). Make sure to check back in with us for guidelines on the finalized law!
The program will be phased in from 2018-2021, with both leave duration and wages increasing annually until their cap in 2021. The law aims to provide employees with 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave, and pay the lesser of 67% of employees’ weekly wages or the New York state average wage by 2021. NY-PFLBL will apply to employers with 1 or more employees, and will be funded through employee payroll deductions. Covered employers are required to maintain all group health insurance benefits for the duration of the employee’s leave, on the same terms and conditions as provided during their active employment. Employers are also responsible for implementing the deductions process to cover the program.
The maximum available benefit in 2018 will cover the lesser of 50% of the employee’s weekly earnings, or the NY state average weekly wage. Employees whose income equals or exceeds the statewide average in 2018 can only receive the maximum family leave benefit, which is capped at 50% of the statewide average. While the finalized legislation is pending, the Department of Financial Services has already set the premium rate for Family Leave Benefits and the maximum employee contribution for coverage at 0.126% of the employee’s weekly wages, not to exceed the NY state average weekly wage. Employers may then kickstart the necessary employee payroll deductions on or after July 1, 2017.
New York Paid Family Leave is meant to run concurrently with FMLA for covered employers, but the proposed regulations contain certain key distinctions:
How do you navigate these legislative changes for your business? That’s where Zenefits comes in. Our integrated software makes managing everything employee time-tracking simple, so you can focus on running your business. See just how easy managing hourly employees, PTO and accrual can be here:
Our team helps you get set up with the tools you need to comply with new family and sick leave laws. Visit our Help Center for further details on coverage, notice, and paid time off requirements. Request a demo with one of our HR specialists today to learn more.