HR Management & Compliance

New Year to Increase Paid Family Leave In New York

Another benefit increase is set to take effect January 1, 2020, under New York’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) Benefit Law.

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The law, enacted in 2016, is being phased in over a number of years. In 2020, eligible employees will be entitled to up to 10 weeks of leave at 60% of their average weekly wage (AWW). The AWW in 2020 will be capped at $1,401.17, making the maximum PFL benefit $840.70 per week.

The 2020 benefit is up from 2019’s level. In 2019, eligible employees were entitled to up to 10 weeks of leave at 55% of their AWW. The AWW was capped at $1,357.11 per week, and the maximum weekly benefit was $746.41.

The benefit will increase again on January 1, 2021, when eligible employees will receive up to 12 weeks of benefits at 67% of their AWW. The cap for the 2021 AWW isn’t expected to be lower than the AWW for 2020.

Employers need to update their policies to reflect the new PFL requirements, and they must be prepared for the use of PFL benefits to increase as the payment value rises and more employees become aware of the benefit.

While most of the work involving PFL is handled by the same insurance companies that handle disability benefits, employers must stay on top of necessary paperwork and provide appropriate notice to employees. It’s also imperative to understand the interplay between the PFL law and federal laws like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which has different rules for when paid time off must be used.

For more information on New York’s Paid Family Leave Benefit Law, see the November 2019 issue of New York Employment Law Letter.

Angelo D. Catalano is an attorney with Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP in Binghamton, New York. He can be reached at acatalano@cglawoffices.com.