Public employers may voluntarily opt into New York Paid Family Leave at any time. A public employer is defined as the State, any political subdivision of the State, a public authority or any government agency or instrumentality. To opt in, the public employer must notify the Workers’ Compensation Board. Public employers may choose to either pay for the cost of coverage or take weekly employee payroll deductions.
Once a public employer has obtained coverage, the employer submits an application to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, along with providing notice to its unrepresented employees at least 90 days before collecting employee contributions, if contributions will be required. A labor union may collectively bargain with a public employer to provide Paid Family Leave benefits.
A public employer may not opt-in for employees represented by a union without collectively bargaining with the union to provide Paid Family Leave.
A labor union may negotiate with a public employer for Paid Family Leave benefits at least as favorable as those mandated by statute. Such negotiated programs may not permit eligible employees to opt out of Paid Family Leave, but the collective bargaining agreement may provide other rules that differ from the Paid Family Leave regulations. Where the agreement does not provide a different rule, the Paid Family Leave law and regulations will apply. For union-covered employees Paid Family Leave can be opted-out as mutually agreed upon between the employee organization and public employer (pursuant to 121-b(3)(a) of the Workers' Compensation Law.
Paid Family Leave benefit plans that have been incorporated into a collective bargaining agreement must be submitted to the Workers’ Compensation Board for approval to ensure that the terms are at least as favorable as the PFL statute requires. Plans can be submitted by emailing the Plans Acceptance Unit at PAU@wcb.ny.gov.
|Issues||Can this be negotiated in a collective bargaining agreement (CBA)?|
Eligibility acquired through union membership or some other measure rather than employment with a single employer
|Employees who are eligible under the statute may waive coverage if the employee will not use the benefit||No|
|Coverage agreed to through the collective bargaining process provides fewer weeks or less weekly/daily benefits than the statute||No|
Coverage agreed to through the collective bargaining process provides more weeks or greater weekly/daily benefits than the statute
|Collective Bargaining Agreement may provide that employees do not have to pay a weekly contribution||Yes|
|Collective Bargaining Agreement may require that employees pay more than maximum weekly contribution||Only if approved by the Workers’ Compensation Board|
Paid Family Leave does not limit the existing right of employers and unions to negotiate and provide leave benefits unrelated to Paid Family Leave insurance that would address the need of employees to balance work and family responsibilities; such unrelated leave benefits are not statutory Paid Family Leave policies.
Obtain Insurance Coverage
Public employers can obtain Paid Family Leave insurance coverage by:
- Including Paid Family Leave benefits through a rider on an existing disability benefits policy,
- Purchasing a stand-alone Paid Family Leave insurance policy, or
- Self-insuring for Paid Family Leave.
A list of insurers offering Paid Family Leave policies is available on the Department of Financial Services website.
Public employers that maintain disability benefits through an insurance policy may not self-insure for Paid Family Leave.
Coverage must be maintained for at least one year and may only be canceled after providing 12 months’ notice to all affected unrepresented employees and to the Workers’ Compensation Board.
If you have specific questions about opting in, please write to PFLinquiries@wcb.ny.gov. You can also contact the Paid Family Leave Helpline at (844) 337-6303.
Notify the Workers’ Compensation Board
Public employers must notify the Workers’ Compensation Board when they opt into Paid Family leave.
If you currently provide disability benefits, email the Workers’ Compensation Board Plans Acceptance Unit at PAU@wcb.ny.gov stating that you plan to provide Paid Family Leave to employees. If insured for disability benefits, notify your disability benefits insurance carrier of your decision.
If you do not provide disability benefits, complete the Employer’s Application for Voluntary Coverage. Completed applications should be submitted to the Plans Acceptance Unit via email at PAU@wcb.ny.gov. Depending on whether the employer will be requiring employee contributions to pay for the insurance, the employer completes one of the following forms:
Payroll Deductions and Notice to Employees
A public employer may opt into Paid Family Leave for their unrepresented employees and begin collecting payroll contributions upon providing 90 days’ notice. For employees who are represented by a union, their participation is subject to negotiation.
For more information about Paid Family Leave Cost and Deductions visit:
Contact PFL Helpline
For more information, call the Paid Family Leave toll-free helpline Monday-Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm EST.