On July 19, Governor Cuomo announced final regulations implementing New York's nation-leading Paid Family Leave (PFL) program. The state's PFL program will provide New Yorkers 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 deployed abroad on active military service.
Paid Family Leave does not replace disability benefits coverage. Some employees may be eligible for both Paid Family Leave and disability benefits, although they may not be taken simultaneously. Employers must inform their employees of all available benefits.
Changes to Your Disability Benefits Policy
NYSIF notified disability benefits (DB) policyholders in April 2017 that PFL will be added to DB policies effective January 1, 2018. Nearly all employees of NYSIF DB policyholders will be automatically covered for PFL under their NYSIF DB policies.
PFL will be funded through employee payroll deductions. As an employer, you are responsible for collecting the appropriate PFL contributions to cover the cost of the program.
The employee contribution rate is set every year to match the cost of insurance coverage. For 2018, per the Department of Financial Services, the PFL payroll contribution rate is 0.126% of an employee’s weekly wage and is capped at an annual maximum of $85.56. Employees earning less than the New York State Average Weekly Wage ($1,305.92 per week) will have an annual contribution amount less than the cap of $85.56, consistent with their actual weekly wages.
Employees with a regular work schedule of 20 or more hours per week are eligible after 26 weeks of employment. Employees with a regular work schedule of less than 20 hours per week are eligible after 175 days worked. The benefits of this program initially offer up to 8 weeks of paid leave at 50% of the employee's AWW, up to the maximum benefit of 50% of the New York State AWW. The program will be fully implemented on January 1, 2021, and will offer up to 12 weeks paid leave at 67% of the employee's average weekly wages, up to the maximum benefit of 67% of the New York State AWW.
Special Employment Circumstances
All New York State public employers, including government agencies, political subdivisions and public authorities, are covered for PFL under your NYSIF disability benefits policy unless you notified NYSIF’s DB Underwriting Department in writing before December 1, 2017, that you wished to opt-out of PFL coverage for your employees.
A public employer must notify all employees who will be required to make contributions and the NYS Workers' Compensation Board 90 days before the first Paid Family Leave employee deduction is made.
Employers with Domestic Household Employees
If you employ domestic household employees that do not work at least 40 hours per week, you may opt-in for combined DB and PFL coverage by submitting an application for approval to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. After obtaining WCB approval, contact your NYSIF DB underwriter to complete enrollment.
Voluntary Coverage Entities
Private employers who have opted-in for voluntary coverage by obtaining approval from the New York Worker’s Compensation Board will automatically be covered for PFL under your NYSIF disability benefits policy. Please contact NYSIF’s DB Underwriting Department if you have any questions regarding your coverage.
Self-Employed Individuals with No Employees
In November 2017, NYSIF sent a letter advising self-employed individuals who wished to voluntarily opt in to DB and PFL that they would need to seek approval from the Workers' Compensation Board prior to obtaining coverage. WCB has recently notified NYSIF that any self-employed individuals with no employees are pre-approved for DB and PFL and no additional approval needs to be sought from WCB. Self-employed individuals may include sole proprietors, members of limited liability companies or limited liability partnerships or other self-employed persons. If you wish to add coverage, you must contact your underwriter.
Sole Proprietors, Partners, Limited Liability Companies and Limited Liability Partnerships
Sole Proprietors and Partners, members of Limited Liability Companies or Limited Liability Partnerships, and other self-employed individuals who are exempt from New York State Disability Benefits insurance coverage may now opt-in for combined DB and PFL coverage by submitting an Application for Voluntary Coverage form. You must submit a form for DB and a form for PFL to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. After obtaining WCB approval, contact your underwriter or submit an Employer Application to complete enrollment. NYSIF must have received approval before December 31, 2017, for coverage to take effect on January 1, 2018. A policy covering you for PFL issued after January 1, 2018, and beyond 26 weeks after you became self-employed, is subject to a two-year waiting period before you are eligible for PFL benefits.
For more information regarding Paid Family Leave, please refer to the following New York State resources:
- New York State Paid Family Leave Website
- New York State Paid Family Leave Help Line: (844) 337-6303
- Workers' Compensation Board Notice of Adoption of final regulations in the July 19, 2017, edition of the State Register.
- The Department of Financial Services final regulations, issued May 31, 2017.
Model Language for Workplace Written Materials: Sample PFL language for customizing handbooks and other written guidance for employees.
NYSIF Disability Benefits And Paid Family Leave Insurance Application
Employer’s Application for Voluntary Coverage (No Employee Contribution) (PFL-135)
Employer’s Application for Voluntary Coverage (Employee Contribution Required) (PFL-136)
Statement of Rights for Paid Family Leave (PFL-271S) (This link will provide this statement in other languages.)
Employee Paid Family Leave Opt-Out and Waiver of Benefits (PFL-Waiver)
(If an employee does not expect to work long enough to qualify for PFL (a seasonal worker, for example), the employee may opt out of PFL by completing the Waiver of Benefits Form and submitting it to the employer.)
This page was updated February 6, 2018.