New York Paid Family Leave

How it works 

What is New York Paid Family Leave?
  • New York Paid Family Leave (PFL) allows eligible employees paid time off for bonding or placement of a child; to care for a seriously ill family member; or for when a parent, domestic partner, spouse or child is called into active military service.
  • The employee’s job is protected during a covered leave.
  • The definition of family members includes children, spouses, parents, parents-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren and domestic partners.
  • Benefits will be phased in, beginning January 1, 2018, and will provide 50% of the employee’s wages to a maximum duration of eight weeks. The state plans to gradually increase the benefit amount over four years, per the grid below.
Effective Date Benefit Maximum benefit amount Maximum weeks
January 1, 2018 50% of employee's weekly wages 50% state average weekly wage 8 weeks within 12 months
January 1, 2019 55% of employee's weekly wages 55% state average weekly wage 10 weeks within 12 months
January 1, 2020 60% of employee's weekly wages 60% state average weekly wage 10 weeks within 12 months
January 1, 2021 67% of employee's weekly wages 67% state average weekly wage 12 weeks within 12 months
Who is eligible for this leave?
  • Paid Family Leave applies to all private sector employers with employees who work in New York, subject to the New York Disability Benefits Law (DBL), regardless of company size or location.
  • Full-time employees are covered after 26 consecutive weeks of employment, and part-time employees are covered after working 175 days.
How is full-time and part-time status defined?
  • The state of New York has defined full-time status as an employee working 20 or more hours per week and part-time status as an employee working less than 20 hours per week.
Does the employee have the option to waive coverage?
  • Yes, an employee who is not expected to work 26 weeks or 175 days has the option to file a waiver through their employer.
  • If the waiver is signed, no payroll deductions will be withheld from the employees paycheck.
  • If the employee becomes eligible or their hours change that would allow them to qualify and meet the requirements the waiver is revoked and premium payments must begin as soon as the employee is notified. This includes retroactive premium amounts back to the date of hire.
  • Employers must keep a copy of the fully executed waiver on file for as long as the employee remains in employment with the employer.
How much does this cost, and who pays the premium for this new leave?
  • Paid Family Leave benefits are funded entirely through an employee payroll deduction.
  • The rate will be 0.126% of an employee’s weekly wage up to and not to exceed the statewide average weekly wage.
  • The average weekly wage for 2018 is $1,305.92 and will remain this amount during the entire year.
What is the maximum annual premium for employees?
  • The 2018 annualized maximum wage basis for PFL is $67,908 ($1,305.92 x 52 weeks). If an employee earns equal to or greater than this salary his or her annual premium will be capped at $85.56 ($67,908 x 0.126%=$85.56) If that employee is paid on a weekly basis, his or her weekly deduction would be approximately $1.65 ($85.56/52 weeks).
  • For an employee earning less than the average weekly wage, annual premium will be equal to 0.126% of the employee’s wages throughout the year. As an example, annual premium for an employee earning $40,000 per year would be approximately $50.40. (0.126% x 40,000). If paid on a weekly basis, the employee’s weekly deduction would be approximately $0.97 ($40,000/52=$769.23 x 0.126%=$0.97).
When is the state average weekly wage updated?
  • New York updates the average wage information on an annual basis by March 31 of each year. 
  • The state advised for the full 2018 year, the state average weekly wage will be $1,305.92; this is the information released in March 2017 reflecting 2016 information. 
  • View the average state weekly wage.  
How does this affect companies with employees who work in New York?
  • Paid Family Leave applies to all private sector employees working in New York, even if their company is based elsewhere.
If an employee delivered a baby in 2017, is she entitled to any Paid Family Leave benefits?
  • The employee has 12 months from the date of the birth or placement (for adoption or foster care) to take their bonding leave. For example, if the employee delivered a baby on 3/2/2017, the employee has until 3/1/2018 to use the Paid Family Leave bonding benefit. Benefit consideration will not begin until 1/01/2018 when the benefit becomes effective.
If employees are related, are they able to take time off to care for the same family member?
  • The employer is not required to allow two employees to take leave at the same time to care for the same family member. 
If a married couple works for the same employer, do they share the Paid Family Leave entitlement?
  • Each employee is entitled to the benefit independently of one another. 
Does Paid Family Leave provide intermittent leave?
  • Intermittent leave is permitted in one-day increments under the Paid Family Leave regulations. However, this is in full-day increments during which the employee did not work at all. Any day the employee worked and received pay is not considered a day of leave.
How does an employee report their Paid Family Leave claim?
  • A new claim form will be available for an employee to submit the request for Paid Family Leave. The claim may be submitted through email, fax, telephone or mail.
  • Lincoln is in the process of defining our internal Paid Family Leave plan and benefit administration; updates will be provided as they become available and prior to January 1, 2018.
Is there an option to purchase standalone Paid Family Leave?
  • The Paid Family Leave benefit will be part of the state disability policy.
  • Standalone Paid Family Leave will not be available through Lincoln Financial Group.
Are there specific requirements for the employer to consider?
  • Yes, there are several areas within the PFL regulations that the employer you should become familiar. Review these regulations in detail.

    Please remember:
  • The employer cannot require the employee to exhaust their PTO before filing a PFL claim. 
  • The employee should provide 30 day's notice for a foreseeable leave. If this is not possible, the notice should be provided as soon as is practical. 
    This means employees may begin providing notice of leave in 2017 for leave commencing in 2018.
  • If the employer permits it, the employee may use their PTO, Sick time and/or vacation to supplement their PFL and receive up to their full salary. 
  • The employer may seek reimbursement of PFL benefits if salary continuance if provided to the employee. The employer must notify the carrier before the claim is paid to receive reimbursement. 
  • The employer cannot influence the employee’s PFL schedule.
  • PFL is job protected.
  • Employees do not need to explicitly mention Paid Family Leave in order to assert their rights. The employer should seek further information from the employee to determine whether the employee is seeking family leave.
  • Employers are required to provide written statement of rights to the employee within five business days after receiving notice of the employee's absence of seven consecutive days is due to a family leave. The state has not yet provided the necessary information to fulfill this requirement. Lincoln will deliver this information as soon as it is available. 
Are Paid Family Leave benefits taxable?

In August of 2017, New York state provided the following tax guidance for PFL benefits:

  • Benefits paid to employees will be taxable non-wage income that must be included in federal gross income.
  • Taxes will not automatically be withheld from benefits; employees can request voluntary tax withholding.
  • Premiums will be deducted from employees’ after-tax wages.
  • Employers should report employee contributions on Form W-2 using Box 14 – State disability insurance taxes withheld.
  • Benefits should be reported by insurers on Form 1099-MISC.    

    Based on these guidelines, Lincoln will issue benefits as non-wage income and will report benefits on a 1099-MISC issued directly to claimants. Benefits will be subject to income taxes, but FICA will not apply.
Are public sector employers required to provide Paid Family Leave?
  • The state of New York defines public employers as the state; a political subdivision of the state; a public authority; or any other governmental agency or instrumentality thereof. These types of employers are not required to provide PFL benefits to their employees under New York’s regulations. Public employers that presently offer NY state disability (DBL) coverage to their New York workers should notify their carrier of their intent to provide PFL benefits to those employees. If they elect to offer PFL, they are also required to complete one of the state’s Employer’s Applications for Voluntary Coverage. Visit our State Resources page to learn more about these applications.

In New York, insurance products (policy series GL111, GL3001) are issued by Lincoln Life & Annuity Company of New York, a Lincoln Financial Group® company. Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation and its affiliates. Affiliates are separately responsible for their own financial and contractual obligations. Limitations and exclusions apply.