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End-of-Year New York State Paid Family Leave Considerations

Changes to the New York Paid Family Leave Law are coming. Here's what you need to know for January 1, 2020

Written by Emina (Mina) Poricanin on

As 2020 approaches, New York employers should be cognizant of several changes that will take effect in relation to the New York Paid Family Leave Law (“PFL”) on January 1, 2020. As New York employers know, the PFL provides paid, job protected leave for eligible employees: (i) to care for a new child following birth, adoption, or placement in the home; (ii) to care for a family member with a serious health condition; or (iii) for qualifying exigencies related to military duty.

Effective January 1, 2020, employees taking leave under the PFL will receive 60% of their average weekly pay (up from 55% in 2019), up to a cap of 60% of the current Statewide Average Weekly Wage ($1,401.70). Thus, the maximum weekly benefit for an employee on PFL leave in 2020 will increase from $746.41 to $840.70. The number of weeks available for paid family leave will remain 10 weeks per year.

As New York employers know, PFL can be 100% employee funded. Thus, effective January 1, 2020, the employee contribution rate will increase from 0.153% to 0.270% of an employee’s gross wages each pay period (capped at the Statewide Average Weekly Wage), which means that an employee’s maximum annual contribution will increase from $107.97 to $196.72. Employees earning less that the Statewide Average Weekly Wage, however, will contribute less, consistent with their actual wages. Employers may start taking deductions at the new rate beginning on January 1, 2020.

The State has updated its website to provide an overview of these changes, as well as its FAQs to address, among other things, the benefits available to employees who start a period of leave under the NYPFLL in 2019 that extends into 2020. The FAQs make clear that employees will receive the benefit rate and number of weeks in effect on the first day of their leave. Thus, for example, if an employee starts PFL leave in 2019 that will extend into 2020, the employee is not eligible for the cash benefits at the 2020 rate.