FAQs About the New York State Paid Family Leave Program

Rose & Kiernan, Inc. recently held a second webinar on the New York State Paid Family Leave Program (PFL), offering an overview of the program’s final regulations and tips for effective administration.  The webinar provides the most updated timeline for the regulations, details about employee eligibility and information about the economics of PFL.

Following the webinar, we compiled a list of additional answers to many questions asked by attendees during our presentation. A portion of the Q&A session is featured below and a fully-transcribed copy is available here.

Q: Does PFL apply to only those who work in NY, or also to those who live in NY but work in another state, say CT or VT?
A: Employees are considered eligible for PFL when they physically work in NYS, or, do not have a worksite in any specific state (remote employee/telecommuter) but reside and work from home in NYS.

Q: Can we offer this coverage to non-NYS employees?
A: There are restrictions on extending PFL to non-NYS employees. Groups are advised to contact their carrier to determine if/how they will extend coverage.

Q: Is the employee paying the entire premium?
A: Yes, NY PFL is intended to be 100% funded through employee payroll deductions. The maximum employee contribution is set by the Department of Financial Services and updated each year by September 1. For 2018, the rate is 0.126% of an employee’s weekly wage capped at 0.126% of the annualized New York State Average Weekly Wage.

Q: Can an employee opt-out of PFL payroll deductions?
A: No – participation is not optional. There will be a waiver made available but ONLY for “an employee of a covered employer whose regular work schedule is less than 26 weeks or 175 days in a 52-consecutive week period.” In other words, for those employees who would never be eligible to utilize the benefit.

Q: Would employees be eligible to take both PFL and FMLA at the same time?
A: If the PFL leave also qualifies under the FMLA as a covered leave, the 2 programs should run concurrently. The employer must still notify the employee that it is an FMLA leave and designate the leave as FMLA.

Q: As a public employer, I have DBL which I pay for, but I am not going to opt in to PFL. Is there anything to be concerned with immediately?
A: An employer who provides voluntary disability benefits to its employees must notify its employees and the WC Board that it will or will not be providing family leave benefits to employees prior to December 1, 2017.

Q: Do deductions start after the 26 weeks or immediately upon hire?
A: Deductions will start with an employee’s first payroll and for all current employees on 1/1, even if they haven’t met eligibility but are expected to.

See 23 other important questions and answers regarding NYS’s PFL program here.

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