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New York Paid Family Leave in 2020

As the New Year approaches, employers should be aware of upcoming changes to the New York Paid Family Leave (PFL) program. On January 1, 2020, both the weekly benefit provided under the program and the maximum employee contribution are scheduled to increase.

The maximum amount of benefits an employee is entitled to receive while on leave is based on the employee’s average weekly wage (“AWW”) and the state’s average weekly wage (“SAWW”). Effective January 1, 2020, the maximum amount of benefits will be calculated based on 60% of an employee’s AWW, up to a cap set at 60% of the SAWW. The SAWW for 2020 is $1,401.17; therefore, the maximum weekly benefit in 2020 will be $840.70 per week.

The amount of leave for 2020 will remain at 10 weeks and is expected to increase to 12 weeks in 2021.

To ensure enough funds to cover the increased benefits, the employee payroll contribution toward PFL will need to be adjusted on January 1 to 0.270% of an employee’s gross wages each pay period, capped at a maximum annual contribution of $196.72. Employers are strongly encouraged to notify employees before withholding any contributions. A template is available: Notice of Employee Payroll Deduction [PDF].

Employers are also responsible for identifying employees who will not meet the minimum eligibility requirements for PFL and offering these employees a waiver. Coverage can only be waived if the employee will not meet the minimum time worked requirements, in other words:

  • if the employee regularly works less than 20 hours per week and will not work 175 days in a year, or
  • if the employee regularly works 20 or more hours per week but won’t be in employment for 26 consecutive weeks.

Provide these employees with form: Employee Opt-Out of Paid Family Leave Benefits (PFL-Waiver).

  • If an employee waives coverage, they will not make contributions and will not be eligible for PFL benefits. Keep a copy of all completed waivers on file.
  • If an employee’s schedule changes such that they will meet the minimum eligibility requirements for eligibility, the waiver must be automatically be revoked by the employer. Employees can voluntarily revoke a waiver at any time.
  • If a waiver is revoked (either by the employer or by the employee) you may begin taking payroll deductions and may retroactively collect deductions from the date the waiver was signed.

HR Works Can Help

HR Works offers Benefits Administration Services that are designed to make it less burdensome for employers to comply with federal and state leave laws. In addition, subscribers of the HR Works Virtual Helpline may contact a Compliance Specialist for questions related to PFL, PFL forms and leave tracking.

Employers who would like information on our Helpline Service or Benefits Administration Services may contact us to speak with a member of our Business Development team.

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HR Works, Inc., headquartered at 200 WillowBrook Office Park in Fairport (Rochester), New York, with an office in East Syracuse, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.