• Bonding with a newborn during the
first 12 months following birth or
adoption (even if the child was born
or placed for adoption before January
• Meeting birth, adoption or foster care
• Attending to a qualifying exigency
(as defined under the federal FMLA)
arising from the service of a family
member in the Armed Forces of the
“Family members” are defined as
spouse, domestic partner, child, parent,
parent-in-law, grandparent or grandchild.
Who is Eligible?
Full-time employees who work 26 weeks
for a covered employer are eligible to file
a claim for leave. Part-timers (defined in
the regulations as those who work less
than 20 hours per week) are eligible after
working 175 days for a covered employer
within a 52-week period. Claims will
be filed with the insurance carrier and
must be supported with medical or other
What is the Timeline and
How Much is the Benefit?
PFLL is to be phased in over four years.
In 2018, qualifying employees will be
eligible for eight weeks of PFL; this will
increase by one week per year and by
2021, the benefit will reach its maximum
of 12 weeks.
The benefit amount will start at
50 percent of the employee’s average
weekly wage, and will rise each year
through 2021 until it equals 67 percent
of the employee’s average weekly wage.
Benefits are capped by the statewide
average weekly wage published by the
state Department of Labor each year.
Who Pays for It?
The leave benefit will be paid for with
What Are Employers
post-tax employee payroll deductions
that will fund premiums for an insurance
policy purchased by the employer through
their disability carrier. Employers may
also choose to self-insure. The initial
payroll deduction is .126 percent of
an employee’s average weekly wage,
and is capped at .126 percent of the
statewide average weekly wage, which
is calculated each year by the New York
State Department of Labor. In 2017, the
state average weekly wage is $1305.92,
so the maximum deduction per week
will be $1.64. Employers may, but
are not required to, begin withholding
contributions after July 1, 2017 for
coverage to begin effective January 1,
Required to Do?
The proposed regulations require
employers to continue health insurance
coverage (the employee is still liable for
his portion of the premium) and to restore
the employee to the same or a comparable
position without loss of benefits that would
have accrued while he was on leave.
Employers are also required under the
proposed regulations to post notices and
provide information to employees about
PFLL in handbooks or other written policy
documents, including information about
how to file a claim.
Almost all employees are required to
participate in the program, including part-timers. Employees who are not expected
at the time of hire to work for 26 weeks
or 175 days (such as seasonal workers)
must be provided the opportunity to file
an opt-out form and be exempt from the
deductions. The employer will likewise
be exempt from providing leave to these
The proposed regulations provide
that disputes related to eligibility, benefit
rates and duration of paid leave will be
resolved via arbitration. Discrimination
and retaliation is prohibited and will
be actionable under Section 120 of the
Workers Compensation Law.
The proposed regulations provide
significant penalties for employers who
fail to obtain coverage, including fines
based on weekly payroll, direct liability
to employees for payment of benefits, and
direct liability for the employee’s health
costs if the employer fails to continue
medical coverage as required.
Employers with employees in New York
need to be alert to the requirements of
the PFLL. Employers who choose to
insure this benefit will do so through
their statutory disability policy.
Employers may also choose to self-insure the benefit or offer more favorable
benefits to their employees. Any policy
changes should be reviewed by counsel
knowledgeable about the PFLL.
A new informational website ( ny.gov/
programs/new-york-state-paid-family-leave) has been launched to provide
guidance about the PFLL to employers,
employees, medical providers and
unions. The regulations are published
on the website, along with a hotline for
questions. Employers should anticipate
questions from employees as the
implementation date approaches, and
revise and update leave policies to reflect
the new requirements.