State paid family and medical leave laws are on the rise in the United States, with a total of nine states - including New York - offering paid leave to their workforces for certain qualifying life or medical events.
What are state paid family and medical leave laws?
State paid family and medical leave laws provide for paid leave from work for eligible employees based on certain qualifying life events, such as the birth or adoption of a child, to care for oneself or a family member who is experiencing a serious medical condition, or to care for a family member injured while on active duty in the military, among others. Employees receive a weekly benefit which represents a portion of their regular compensation based upon a state created formula.
We've compiled a review of New York's paid leave to ensure you're aware of key upcoming dates and the requirements to ensure your compliance.
What employers need to know
KEY DATES: *Effective January 1, 2021: (1) the duration of paid leave will increase from 10 weeks to 12 weeks, and (2) the weekly benefit available to employees will increase from 60% of employee’s average weekly wage to 67% of average weekly wage.
Employee Eligibility Criteria:
Private employers who employ one or more person in the state on each of 30 days in any calendar year are required to participate.
Most employees who work in New York State for private employers are eligible for paid family leave, if they have met the minimum time worked requirements:
Full-time employees: 26 weeks of employment working regular schedule of 20 or more hours per week.
Part-time employees: 175 days of employment working regular schedule of less than 20 hours per week.
In order to be eligible for state short-term disability insurance, an employee needs to be employed for a minimum of 4 consecutive weeks with an employer.
Weekly Benefit Amount:
Family Leave benefit amounts are calculated on an employee’s average weekly wage.
For 2021, eligible employees will be paid 67% of their average weekly wage up to a maximum of $971.61 per week.
State Short-Term Disability Insurance:
50% of employee’s average weekly wage up to a maximum of $170.00 per week.
Employee and/or Employer Contributions to the program:
Paid Family Leave: 100% Employee funded through payroll deductions.
0.511% of an employee’s gross wages each pay period up to a maximum annual contribution of $385.34.
State Short-Term Disability Insurance: cost shared between employer and employee.
Employers can collect from employees 0.5% of an employee’s gross wages, but not in excess of $0.60 per week.
Employers bear the cost of providing benefits in excess of the contributions collected from employees.
Duration of Leave:
Up to 26 weeks of combined Short-term Disability and Paid Family Leave benefits in a 52-week period.
Qualifying events making employees/participants eligible for leave:
To bond with a newly born, adopted, or fostered child.
To care for a family member with a serious health condition.
To assist loved ones when a spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent is called to active military service abroad.
To care for an employee’s own non-work-related injury or illness including disability due to pregnancy.
(COVID-19 update: Paid Family Leave may also be available where an employee and/or dependent minor child are subject to a quarantine or isolation order as a result of COVID-19).
Other relevant Information:
Employers add paid family leave insurance coverage to their existing state disability insurance policies. New York State requires employers to purchase disability insurance either through the state fund or through an approved private carrier. Employers may also become an approved self-insurer.
An employee cannot receive paid family leave and short-term disability insurance at the same time.
New York Paid Family Leave is job-protected leave. Upon an employee's return from family leave, an employee is entitled to return to the same position or a comparable one. Additionally while on leave, an employee is entitled to continuation of his/her health insurance under the same terms as if the employee continued to work.
Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. Employers should closely monitor the rules and regulations specific to their jurisdiction(s) and should seek advice from counsel relative to their rights and responsibilities.