In Spring 2016 we notified you of legislation enacting a 12-week paid family leave policy in New York. The New York Paid Family Leave Act (PFL) is a series of amendments to the state Workers’ Compensation Law set to take effect on January 1, 2018. PFL allows eligible employees to take paid leave time to care for a newborn, a covered service member, or a family member who has a serious health condition.
This past spring and throughout the summer there have been two public comment periods on proposed regulations interpreting PFL.
The most recent public comment period resulted in 58 formal written comments, many from employee advocacy groups.
The bill covers all employers — regardless of size — and requires them to provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of paid family leave. While public employers are not automatically covered by the statute, they may opt into the program after negotiation with affected unions. Eligible employees include all full-time employees and certain part-time employees. Employees regularly scheduled to work 20 or more hours per week are eligible after 26 consecutive weeks worked and employees regularly scheduled to work less than 20 hours per week are eligible after 175 work days in a consecutive 52-week period.
Part of the PFL is already in effect. As of July 1, 2017, employee payroll contributions to PFL may be withdrawn from employee paychecks. Also, for example, employees who gave birth to a child in 2017 may be entitled to paid family leave to bond with the child in 2018. Now that the regulations are finalized, employers must start carefully thinking about how they will integrate these new requirements into their leave policies and handbooks. There are also special considerations for those employers with a unionized workforce.
For more information on the impact of this new law, please contact: