How Does New York State Paid Family Leave Affects Employers

Starting January 1, 2018, the New York State Paid Family Leave Program will provide New Yorkers 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.

So……what does this mean for a small business owner? 

As of January 1, 2018, your eligible employees are guaranteed:

  • paid time off for 8 weeks, increasing to 12 weeks by 2021;
  • job protection upon return from Paid Family Leave; and
  • continuation of health insurance while out on Paid Family Leave.

Which employees are eligible?

Employees must be employed by a covered employer at the time they apply for Paid Family Leave. Employee eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • 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.

Under what circumstances are employees are eligible to take leave?  There are various circumstances where an employee can take leave….. 

Bonding with a Child

A parent may take Paid Family Leave during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child. This includes children born, fostered or adopted in 2017 as long as the leave is taken within the first twelve months of the birth, adoption, or fostering.

Spouses with different employers are both eligible to take Paid Family Leave at the same time. If both spouses work for the same employer, the employer can deny Paid Family Leave to one of the spouses if they have asked for the same period of time off to bond with the same child.Paid Family Leave begins after birth to care for a child. It is not available for prenatal conditions.An employee may take leave to care for a family member who lives outside of New York State.

Spouses with different employers are both eligible to take Paid Family Leave at the same time. If both spouses work for the same employer, the employer can deny Paid Family Leave to one of the spouses if they have asked for the same period of time-off to bond with the same child.

Family Care

If an employee’s family member has a serious health condition, they are eligible to care for them under the Paid Family Leave program. Family members include:

  • Spouses
  • Domestic Partners
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Parents-in-law
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren

A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:

  • Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential health care facility; or
  • Continuing treatment or supervision by a health care provider.

Ordinarily, conditions such as the common cold, the flu, ear aches, upset stomach, minor ulcers, routine dental or orthodontia problems, periodontal disease, etc. do not meet the definition of a serious health condition.

Active Military Duty Deployment

Paid Family Leave is available when a spouse, child, domestic partner or parent of the employee is on active military duty abroad or has been notified of an impending call or order of active military duty abroad.

Employees can take leave to help out with obligations arising out of a call to duty—for example:

  • Making alternative child care arrangements for a child of the deployed military member;
  • Attending certain military ceremonies and briefings; and
  • Making financial or legal arrangements to address the military member’s absence.

Paid Family Leave, which provides wage replacement and job security, can be taken by employees who are also eligible for time off under the military provisions in the federal Family Medical Leave Act.

Ensure you have Paid Family Leave Coverage

  • Most private employers with one or more employees are required to obtain Paid Family Leave insurance. Contact our agency to get information about available policies.
  • If you already carry disability insurance for your employees- Paid Family Leave insurance will be added to the disability insurance policy you already carry as of January 1, 2018.
  • If you are self-insured for disability, you may purchase a separate Paid Family Leave policy or apply to self-insure.

For more information you can go to the NY State Website or call our agency at 914-269-2334! 

Next Steps: Want to discuss your insurance needs to make sure you are properly covered?  Please give us a shout, we are happy to help!

So…. if you are still confused (or maybe even more confused!), and want to talk with an expert who can walk you through your options…. lets set a time to chat!

Or shoot me an email if that’s more your style- Nicole@thejohnsagency.com.

I speak insurance, so you don’t have to!

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