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Under New York State Law, Paid Family provides protections to workers including:
- Job protection,
- Continued health Insurance, and,
- Protection from discrimination or retaliation.
New York State has processes in place for employees:
- who are discriminated/retaliated against for requesting or taking Paid Family Leave,
- who do not agree with their insurance carrier’s benefits decision (e.g., denial, partial denial, amount or duration of benefits, timely decision), and
- whose employer did not withhold the proper amount of wages for Paid Family Leave.
See below for more information on these protections and what to do if these rights have been violated.
You are entitled to return to the same job, or a comparable one, after returning from Paid Family Leave. A comparable job is one with comparable employment benefits, pay and other terms and conditions of employment. If your employer fails to return you to a comparable job after returning from Paid Family Leave, follow the process for discrimination and retaliation outlined below.
Continued Health Insurance
You can keep your health insurance while on Paid Family Leave on the same terms as if you continued to work. For example, if you contribute to the cost of your health insurance, you must continue to pay your portion of the cost while on leave.
No Discrimination or Retaliation
Your employer is prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against you for requesting or taking Paid Family Leave.
If you request or take Paid Family Leave, discrimination or retaliation can include your employer:
- not returning you to your same or a comparable job,
- terminating your employment,
- reducing your pay or benefits, or
- disciplining you in any way.
If you feel that your employer may have discriminated against you for requesting or taking Paid Family Leave, please follow the steps outlined in the process below.
Request for Reinstatement:
First, you should request that your employer reinstate you to your same job, or a comparable one.
To request reinstatement:
- Complete the Formal Request for Reinstatement Regarding Paid Family Leave (Form PFL-DC-119).
- File the completed form with your employer.
- Send a copy to Paid Family Leave, PO Box 9030, Endicott, NY 13761-9030.
Your employer has 30 calendar days to respond to the request.
- If you are reinstated by your employer, no further action is necessary.
- If you are NOT reinstated, you are not satisfied with your employer's response, or your employer does not respond to this request within 30 days, you have the right to a hearing with the Workers’ Compensation Board and may proceed to Step 2.
Complete the Paid Family Leave Discrimination/Retaliation Complaint Form (PFL-DC-120) and attach all required documentation.
The Board will assemble your case and schedule a hearing within 45 calendar days.
You and your employer will be required to appear at a hearing before a Workers' Compensation Law Judge who will decide if the law was violated. If it was, your employer may be ordered to reinstate you, pay back wages, pay attorney’s fees and/or pay up to $500 in penalties.
NOTE: To file a discrimination complaint, you 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 AND all required documentation has been submitted along with your Paid Family Leave Discrimination/Retaliation Complaint Form (PFL-DC-120).
Arbitration for Paid Family Leave is handled by NAM (National Arbitration and Mediation).
If you are denied or partially denied for Paid Family Leave, your insurance carrier (or employer, if self-insured) must provide you with the reason for denial and information about requesting arbitration, or you can visit the arbitrator’s website at https://nyspfla.namadr.com.
You may also request arbitration for any other PFL claim-related disputes, such as timeliness of the carrier’s payment or denial. In most cases, insurers must pay or deny your benefits within 18 days of receiving your completed request, or your first day of leave, whichever is later.
Wage Deduction Complaints
If you believe there is an error with your current payroll deduction, raise the issue with your employer. If your employer fails to address the issue, you can file a complaint online or call the Paid Family Leave Helpline at 844-337-6303.
Additional Anti-discrimination Laws
There are other state and federal laws that protect employees from discrimination. If you think that you have experienced discrimination based on a ground protected under one of the following laws, then you may be able to file a discrimination claim with the State Division of Human Rights, United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the NYS Department of Labor, or your local human rights commission:
- The New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and job applicants based on certain protected grounds, including age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, pregnancy-related conditions, gender identity, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, or domestic violence victim status. The New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) also protects employees with disabilities or who are pregnant or who have recently given birth from discrimination by requiring employers to make “reasonable accommodations” to accommodate disabilities as well as pregnancy- and childbirth-related conditions.
- The New York State Labor Law explicitly prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees because they have used any legally protected absence pursuant to federal, local, or state law.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations to workers with disabilities and makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers with disabilities.
- You should also check your local laws for additional anti-discrimination protections. For example, the New York City Human Rights Law protects employees in New York City from discrimination based on similar protected classes.
You can waive coverage of Paid Family Leave if:
- You regularly work 20 hours or more per week, but you won't be in employment with that employer for 26 consecutive weeks; or
- You regularly work fewer than 20 hours per week and you will not work 175 days in a 52-week period.
If you meet this criteria and you wish to opt out, you can do so by completing a Paid Family Leave waiver.
Employers must provide a waiver to those who qualify for one.
Employers should keep completed waivers on file.
You may voluntarily revoke your waiver at any time. If your schedule changes such that you no longer qualify for a waiver, your waiver will be automatically revoked. If your waiver is revoked, employers may begin taking payroll deductions and may retroactively collect deductions from the date you signed the waiver.
Contact PFL Helpline
For more information, call the Paid Family Leave toll-free helpline Monday-Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm EST.