Tools and resources to help you better understand NY PFL:

New York Paid Family Leave: How it works

  • PFL coverage is included under the disability policy New York employers are mandated to carry under the New York Disability Benefits Law (DBL). The premium cost for the coverage will be funded by employees through payroll deductions (or funded entirely by the employer if they choose). An annual maximum rate for the employee’s contributions is established by the State of New York.
  • Employees must be given the choice but cannot be required by the employer to take all their sick leave and/or vacation time (PTO) before using PFL. An employer may permit an employee to use sick or vacation leave for full pay but may not require an employee to use the PFL leave. The time used and paid for through PTO would count against the employee's PFL benefit period allotment (i.e., reduce the 12-week benefit period allotted in 2022).
  • Employees are guaranteed job protection and continuation of health insurance (provided any employee contributions are continued) while on PFL.
  • The program is mandatory for all private employers, and public employers may opt-in.
  • PFL is funded through employee contributions as follows:
    • The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) is responsible for developing the rates and rate structure for the NY Paid Family Leave program. Rates will be announced by September 1 each year to be effective January 1 for the upcoming calendar year.
    • Rate is based on an employee’s salary.
    • Employers are to take deductions of 0.511% of employees’ gross weekly wages up to the annualized New York State Average Weekly Wage (NYSAWW) which is $82,917.64 for 2022 ($1,594.57 AWW x 52 weeks = $82,917.64) for a maximum annual employee contribution of $423.71.
    • Statewide average weekly wage is determined annually on March 31.

Benefits

  • The PFL Law became effective January 1, 2018 and phased-in over four years.
  • Employees may take the maximum benefit length in any given 52-week period. The 52-week period begins the first day of an employee’s PFL or DBL benefit.
  • The NYS Department of Labor annually publishes the NY State Average Weekly Wage (NYSAWW), the basis for determining the maximum benefit payable. The most current benefit provisions are outlined below:

Year

Maximum Length of Paid Leave

Benefit %

Maximum Weekly Benefit
(Cap % of NYSAWW)

2022

12 weeks

67%

$1,068.36
(67% of NYSAWW-$1,594.57)

2021

12 weeks

67%

$971.61
(67% of NYSAWW-$1,450.17)

All claims initiated in 2021 will continue to be paid benefits based on 2021 benefit provisions through the duration of the claim, even if the claim extends into 2022, per NY State regulations. For example, if a bonding claim is initiated in December 2021 for 10 weeks, even though the claim period extends into 2022, since the claim was initiated in 2021, 2021 benefit provisions will apply for the duration of the 10-week claim.

New York Paid Family Leave: what you need to know

What events qualify for PFL?

  • Maternity and Paternity leave (bonding leave) related to birth, adoption or foster care: PFL only begins after birth and is not available for prenatal conditions. A parent may take PFL during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child. Leave must be taken within the first year of the birth or placement. A parent may also take leave as needed related to adoption and foster care placement obligations (i.e., attend counseling sessions, travel to another country to complete an adoption, consult with doctors and attorneys representing the birth parent, and appear in court).
  • Caring for a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent in-law, grandparent, grandchild with a serious health condition.
  • Active-duty deployment (exigency leave): Military provisions in the federal Family and Medical Leave Act when a spouse, child, domestic partner, or parent of the employee is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order of active duty.

Who is a covered employee for NY PFL?

  • Covered employees are employees who are "employed" in New York State (meaning they physically work in New York State) and are either working for a covered employer and don't fall into an excluded class or are working for an employer who voluntarily provides PFL coverage. Participation in the NY PFL program is not optional for covered employees.  However, some employees, based on their class of employment may be exempt from coverage. For more details on exempt employment, visit https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/private-employer-coverage-requirements.
  •  In addition, some employees may be eligible to waive coverage due to an inability to satisfy the eligibility requirement based on their employment status.  For more information on “Opting Out” and waiver form, visit https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/protections

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Employees who regularly work 20 or more hours per week are eligible for coverage after they have been employed for at least 26 consecutive weeks preceding the first full day family leave begins.
  • Employees who work less than 20 hours per week are eligible for coverage if they have worked at least 175 days preceding the first full day the leave begins.

The eligibility requirements (26 consecutive weeks or 175 workdays) is not required to be within a 52-week period, in other words, the employee would not need to meet the eligibility requirements each year. Eligibility is from date of hire; once met for either, it does not need to be met again in ensuing years. Once an employee has met eligibility requirement specific to the type of employee the person is (an employee that works 20 or more hours/week or an employee that works less than 20 hrs/week), the employee remains eligible for the duration of his/her employment.

Are employers required to cover their out-of-state employees for PFL?

NY DBL and NY PFL are mandated benefits for employees who work in New York, technically whose “employment” is in New York. Employers should refer to Section 201(6) of the New York Workers’ Compensation Law to determine if any of their employees are not considered “employed” in NY and therefore are not covered employees.

New York employee or out-of-state employee? Considerations:

  • An employee who works from their home in New York is considered a New York employee even if the employer is located outside of New York State.
  • An employee who lives in New York but works outside of New York is not considered a New York employee if the employer is located outside of New York.
  • An employee that is required to travel occasionally into New York to perform duties, such as a salesperson, will not be considered a New York employee unless the employer is based in New York.

New York Paid Family Leave: information for employers

How does PFL work with NY DBL?

  • PFL is included as a rider under an employer's NY DBL policy.
  • Both PFL and DBL are mandatory for covered employees.
  • PFL and DBL benefits cannot be collected at the same time.
  • Unlike DBL benefits, there is no waiting period before employees become eligible to receive PFL benefits and benefits are payable on the first full day PFL leave is required.
  • PFL and DBL benefits combined must not amount to more than the 26-week benefit maximum during any 52 consecutive calendar weeks.
  • Unlike DBL, PFL is designed to provide expanded benefits for employees (regardless of gender) for paid family leave not related to the employee's own health condition.
  • PFL is fully funded by employees and does not require any employer contributions. DBL requires employer contributions.

How does NY PFL relate to the FMLA?

If you are an employer with 50 or more employees in New York, you will need to comply with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the NY PFL. View an overview of key differences between the FMLA and NY PFL.

Have questions?

For more information, contact your Guardian Group Sales or Service representative or visit the State of New York’s Paid Family Leave website at www.ny.gov/paidfamilyleave.

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Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, or legal advice.  Consult your tax, legal, or other professional regarding impact to your company.

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2021-128294  20221031