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Employer Responsibilities and Resources

Employer Responsibilities and Resources
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Overview

New York State designed Paid Family Leave to be easy for employers to implement. Below is a list of ongoing responsibilities for employers in New York who are required to provide Paid Family Leave; new employers can use it as a checklist to prepare for offering the benefit.

Obtain Coverage

  • Most private employers with one or more employees are required to obtain Paid Family Leave insurance. Contact your broker or insurer for information about available policies as well as options for paying your premium (e.g., whether it can be paid semi-annually, annually, or annually on a retrospective basis).
  • This insurance is generally added as a rider on an existing disability insurance policy; it does not replace it.
  • If you are self-insured for disability, you may purchase a separate Paid Family Leave policy or apply to the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board to self-insure. You would still need coverage while you’re applying.
  • For a list of insurers offering Paid Family Leave policies, visit the PFL section of the Department of Financial Services website.

 

Obtaining and Funding a Policy

Post a Notice of Compliance

Your insurance carrier will provide you with a notice to employees (Notice of Compliance) stating that you have Paid Family Leave insurance. The Notice will include information about your carrier.

  • If you are self-insured, you can get this notice by contacting the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board at certificates@wcb.ny.gov.
  • Post and maintain this notice in plain view.

Inform Your Employees

  • Include Paid Family Leave information in your written materials distributed to your employees, such as employee handbooks.
  • If you do not have a handbook, provide written guidance to employees concerning their Paid Family Leave benefits, including how to file a request for Paid Family Leave.
  • Model language [PDF] for employee handbooks and other written materials is available.

Identify Employees Who Qualify for a Waiver

  • It is your responsibility to identify employees who will not meet the minimum eligibility requirements for Paid Family Leave and offer these employees a waiver.
  • Coverage can only be waived if the employee will not meet the minimum time worked requirements, in other words:
    • if they regularly work less than 20 hours per week and will not work 175 days in a year, or
    • if they regularly work 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 Paid Family Leave 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 will be automatically be revoked. Employees can voluntarily revoke a waiver at any time.
  • If a waiver is revoked (either automatically or by the employee) you may begin taking payroll deductions and may retroactively collect deductions from the date the waiver was signed.

Collect Employee Payroll Contributions

  • Ensure that you are collecting the employee contributions that pay for this insurance.
  • It is strongly recommended you notify employees before withholding any contributions. A template is available: Notice of Employee Payroll Deduction [PDF]
  • The employee contribution rate is set every year by the Department of Financial Services to match the cost of insurance coverage. 
  • For information on the current payroll contribution rate visit:

 

Cost and Deductions

Respond to Employee Request for Leave

Familiarize yourself with what you need to do when an employee requests Paid Family Leave, including your responsibility to complete  Part B - Employer Information of the PFL-1 Request for Paid Family Leave.

 

Handling Requests

Discrimination/Retaliation

An employer cannot discriminate or retaliate against an employee for requesting or taking Paid Family Leave. An employer must reinstate the employee to the same or a comparable position when the employee returns from Paid Family Leave.

Examples of discrimination or retaliation may include an employer:

  • Not returning an employee to their same or a comparable job,
  • terminating the employee,
  • reducing an employee’s pay or benefits, or
  • disciplining an employee in any way because the employee requested or took Paid Family Leave.

The Workers’ Compensation Board administers a formal process for employees who believe they may have been discriminated against for taking or requesting Paid Family Leave.

 

Step 1:

Request for Reinstatement:
First, an employee makes a formal request to the employer to reinstate them to their same job, or a comparable one.

To request reinstatement an employee will:

  1. Complete the Formal Request for Reinstatement Regarding Paid Family Leave (Form PFL-DC-119).
  2. File the completed form with your employer.
  3. Send a copy to Paid Family Leave, PO Box 9030, Endicott, NY 13761-9030.

    An employer has 30 calendar days to respond to the request.
     

Step 2:

Discrimination/Retaliation Complaint:
If the employer does not comply with a Formal Request For Reinstatement within 30 calendar days, an employee has the right to a hearing with the Workers’ Compensation Board for a formal hearing.

The Board will assemble the case and notify the employer of the scheduled hearing.

NOTE: To file a discrimination complaint, an employee must have first requested reinstatement as described in the first step above. A request for a hearing will not be processed unless a Formal Request for Reinstatement Regarding Paid Family Leave (Form PFL-DC-119) is received.

An administrative law judge may order an employer to reinstate the employee, pay any lost wages, pay attorney’s fees, and pay up to $500 in penalties.

Contact PFL Helpline

For more information, call the Paid Family Leave toll-free helpline Monday-Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm EST.

Contact us by phone:

Resources

To help you fulfill your responsibilities and successfully implement Paid Family Leave, there are resources to assist you.