New York State’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) Program in 2020

New York state’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefit will enter “Year Three” of its four-year “phase-in” starting on January 1, 2020. The program will continue to be available to provide employees in New York State with job-protected, paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious health condition, or to help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service abroad. So what’s different for New York state’s PFL program in 2020?

PFL Rates & Benefit Increases for 2020

In August, the New York State (NYS) Department of Financial Services announced that the 2020 PFL rate would be set at .270% of wages, an increase of roughly 76% from 2019. This percentage is applied to an employee’s gross wages each pay period and is capped at the State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) of $1401.17.  Therefore, the maximum annual contribution for 2020 is set at $196.72. The State PFL website does offer a Payroll Deduction Calculator where this amount can be estimated. Since these deductions are intended to fully-fund the benefit, the same rate and cap will apply to any premium charged by your insurance carrier.

The amount of time eligible employees can take will remain at 10 weeks, but for 2020, the Paid Family Leave wage replacement benefit will increase by 5%. Employees will receive 60% of their average weekly wage, capped again at the SAWW, making the maximum weekly benefit for 2020 $840.70. The State’s website also offers a Wage Benefit Calculator where estimated weekly benefits can be viewed.

More Covered Employees in 2020

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Farm Workers Bill into law on July 17, 2019. Farm employers, owners and operators are now required to provide disability benefits and NY Paid Family Leave coverage to eligible farm laborers. This goes into effect on January 1, 2020.

PFL Administration in 2020

Much of the administration requirements remain the same for 2020. If an employee starts a period of leave under NYS PFL in 2019 that extends into 2020, then the employee will receive the benefit rate in effect on the first day of their leave – not the 2020 rate. However, if the employee took intermittent leave in 2019, they will be eligible for the increased 2020 benefit rate if more than three months have passed since their last period of leave. This stretch of time in between the leave requests actually generates a new claim.

Rose & Kiernan, Inc. will continue to monitor and advise on New York state’s PFL program. 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 this topic, reach out to us today.

This Summary is provided to you for general informational purposes only, does not include references to other legal resources (e.g., supporting regulations, formal or informal opinions) unless specifically noted and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. Please seek qualified and appropriate counsel for further information and/or advice regarding the application of the topics discussed herein to your employee benefit plans.

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