FMLA & PFL: What NYS Employers Need to Know

With so many employers administering both New York State Paid Family Leave (PFL) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), we thought it would be helpful to review some of their key elements and differentiators as a reminder of how they can each be used; whether separately or together. As an employer, it’s important to understand both leave programs. By knowing eligibility requirements, coverage and the acceptable reasons for taking leave, you can better navigate the process when an employee requests to use FMLA or PFL time.

Key Differences Between FMLA and NYS PFL

The chart below provides a summary of the differences between key elements of FMLA and NYS PFL.

So How Do FMLA and PFL Work Together?

If an employee qualifies for both FMLA and PFL, the employer will often require them to run concurrently, however, the employee must be notified that they will be designated as such. Employers will need to continue to send FMLA paperwork, in the proper timelines, when eligible alongside PFL.

Also, employers are not permitted to require employees to use Paid Time Off instead of or concurrently with PFL time.  An employer can offer their employees the option to use any accrued time or charge all or part of their leave to PFL. If an employer pays full salary during a period of PFL, they may request reimbursement from their carrier.

FMLA was an important stepping stone toward PFL adoption. It’s also an important step to protecting employees in other states who do not have access to PFL benefits to protect their jobs.

New York state maintains a robust PFL website with a frequently updated FAQ section and the forms necessary for requesting leave. The program is expected to be at its maximum benefit in 2021, the final year of its four-year implementation.  At that time, benefits will be paid at 67% of wages, capped at the State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW), and will allow for 12 weeks of leave.

Rose & Kiernan, Inc. will continue to monitor and advise on New York state’s PFL program and FMLA when employees are eligible for both. As always, we encourage all employers in New York state to review your PFL policies and practices to make sure that they are updated and compliant. Should you have any questions on PFL or FMLA, reach out to us today.  

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