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NY State Paid Family Leave Law – the first 90 days

Most private NY State employers have been exposed to the new Paid Family Leave law (PFL) which has been in effect since January 1, 2018.

Throughout 2017, employers had been gearing up for the new law and wading through a sea of legislation with sections that may have been hard to understand or interpret.   There were, however, several clarifications from the NY State Worker’s Compensation Board to help employers plan for the impending law.

Now that the law has been in effect for about 90 days, have things become easier to understand and administer for employers?  Short answer, not really.  Over the past several weeks, there continued to be challenges for employers in interpreting the law, administering benefits, and determining the amount of deductions to be taken from paychecks – and whom to take those deductions from.   

HR Works has compiled a list of frequently asked questions based on the questions we have fielded from our clients:

Q1: What employees should I offer a waiver to?

A1: Any employee that is not expected to work 26 consecutive weeks (if a full-time employee working 20 or more hours per week).

                                                or

 A1: Any employee that is not expected to work 175 days (if a part time employee working under 20 hours per week) in the next 52-week period.

Q2: If an employee does not sign a waiver, should a deduction be taken from the paycheck?

A2: Yes, a deduction should be taken for all employees that have not signed a waiver, even if they are not eligible for benefits.

Q3: Do employees need to complete a new wavier each year?

A3: No, an employee waiver is in effect until it is revoked.

Q4: We are hearing that the weekly deduction limit of $1.65 has changed, is this correct?

A4: Yes, it has been determined that the deduction amount is limited to an annual amount of $85.56 for 2018 and a weekly payroll limitation is not a requirement.

Q5: If an employee hits the annual deduction limit mid-year, and then terminates employment before year-end, should a refund be issued to that employee?

A5: No, since the PFL regulations don’t require the employer to refund the employee.

Q6: When an employee applies for FMLA, should they also receive a PFL notification?

A6: Yes, when an FMLA claim is also deemed by the employer to be a PFL qualifying claim, it is advised that the required PFL notifications and forms also be sent to employees, even if the employee has not specifically requested PFL. This also allows the employer to count the PFL time concurrently with FMLA.

Q7: If an employee does not submit a claim for PFL and does not receive a PFL payment from the carrier, is the time out still counted against the PFL allotment?

A7: Yes, if the appropriate notices and paperwork were sent at the same time as the FMLA paperwork. See Q6 above.

Q8: It may take up to a few weeks before a notification of an approved PFL claim is received. How should we manage the time the employee is out, prior to the carrier approval?

A8: An acceptable practice is to contingently approve the leave as PFL and follow the company’s established PFL policy. The employee should also understand the policy(ies) that will replace the PFL policy if the claim is not ultimately approved (attendance, other leave policies, etc.)

Q9: We are a non-profit organization that excludes certain employees from NY State Disability (DBL). Do we need to provide PFL benefits?

A9: No, if employees have been excluded under your DBL coverage, the PFL exclusion will also apply.

HR Works, Inc.’s Benefits Administration Services division assists employers with the administration of PFL benefits. Contact us today at (585) 381-8340 or info@hrworks-inc.com for additional information. Our Virtual HR Helpline clients can call or email with questions.

Copyright © 2018 HR Works, Inc.

HR Works, Inc., headquartered at 200 WillowBrook Office Park in Fairport (Rochester), New York, with an office in East Syracuse, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.