Public Employers
SHARE

Overview

As a Public employer, you 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.

Paid Family Leave coverage for non-represented employees can be determined by the Public Employer. A labor union may collectively bargain with a public employer to provide Paid Family Leave benefits to represented employees.

Below is a step-by-step guide to opting in to Paid Family Leave. For more detail, watch the public employer webinar or continue to each section below.

If you have specific questions about opting in, please write to [email protected]. You can also contact the Paid Family Leave Helpline at (844) 337-6303.

Opting In – Step by Step

  1. Decision by the public employer’s governing body (the form of which should be as you determine it is necessary based on your guiding statute and regulations.)
     
  2. Obtain coverage.
     
  3. File opt-in notice (Employer’s Application for Voluntary Coverage) with the Workers’ Compensation Board.
     
  4. Provide 90-days' notice to non-represented employees.
     
  5. Identify employees who qualify for a waiver.
     
  6. Collect payroll deductions to pay for the PFL insurance premium.

 
Read on for detailed information regarding unions and each of the above steps.

 

Unions

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. A union that has opted in to Paid Family Leave benefits may negotiate with the public employer to stop providing Paid Family Leave benefits at a later time (pursuant to section 212-b[3][a]). 

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 [email protected].

 

Negotiable Aspects of Paid Family Leave
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
Yes
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
Yes
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:

 

Note: Public employers that maintain disability benefits through an insurance policy may not self-insure for Paid Family Leave.

 

Notify the Workers’ Compensation Board

Public employers must notify the Workers’ Compensation Board when they opt into Paid Family Leave.

To notify the Workers’ Compensation Board, complete the Employer’s Application for Voluntary Coverage.

Completed applications should be submitted to the Plans Acceptance Unit via email at [email protected].

Depending on whether the employer will be requiring employee contributions to pay for the insurance, the employer completes one of the following forms:

 

Identify Employees Who Qualify for a Waiver

  • It is the employer’s 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) the employer may begin taking payroll deductions and may retroactively collect deductions from the date the waiver was signed.

Payroll Deductions and Notice to Employees

A public employer who has opted in to Paid Family Leave may begin collecting payroll contributions from their unrepresented employees upon providing 90 days’ notice.

After initially opting in, public employers are not required to provide notice of payroll deductions to employees who transfer between bargaining units and thereby become covered for Paid Family leave. Payroll deductions may begin as soon as an employee moves into a covered class.

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:

Cost and Deductions

Public Employer Webinar

This recorded webinar provides an overview of the State’s landmark Paid Family Leave benefit, and the easy process for opting in.

 

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: