April 15, 2016
On April 4, 2016, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law the Paid Family Leave Act (PFL) as part of a significant expansion of employee rights, including a new $15 state minimum wage and amendments to workers’ compensation law.
PFL will apply to full-time and part-time employees who have been employed for at least six months. The PFL will apply to all businesses located in New York, and, unlike federal family leave policies, does not include a small business exemption. The PFL will be funded not by employers, but through a mandatory payroll deduction similar to that of New York State’s current Temporary Disability Insurance Program. The weekly payroll deduction will start at 45 cents in 2018 and gradually increase to one dollar with the policy’s full implementation in 2021.
An employee will be eligible for Paid Family Leave insurance after working for six months for their current employer, receiving eight weeks of leave at 50 percent of her or his average weekly wage, capped at 50 percent of the statewide average weekly wage which was $1,296.48 in 2015 (NYS DOL Research and Statistics Division). By 2021, employees will receive twelve weeks of leave at 67 percent of their weekly wage, also capped at the same percentage of the current statewide average weekly wage.
Additionally, the policy allows for intermittent, or part-time, use of PFL; provides job protection; prohibits retaliation; and allows for the concurrent application of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, although an employee cannot take both PFL and collect full disability. Employers are entitled to receive at least thirty days’ prior notice where possible and proof from healthcare providers as appropriate.
Both employers and employees should be aware of this important change to workplace rights and take steps to prepare for its implementation in 2018. To learn more about RPL’s employment practice, click here. For further details about the Paid Family Leave Act or other employment matters, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
RPL Partner Alice K. Jump has represented clients in cases before state and federal courts and other tribunals involving securities, employment, discrimination and whistle blowing claims, real estate, partnerships, intellectual property and general commercial disputes. Her practice focuses on litigation, alternative dispute resolution and business counseling, with particular emphasis representing clients in the financial services and real estate industries. She practiced at one of the leading international law firms, served as in-house counsel to a major broker-dealer, and has over thirty years of experience as a commercial litigator and legal advisor.