Final Regulations for Paid Family Leave
The New York Workers Compensation Board (the Board) has released the final rules for the upcoming New York Paid Family Leave Law that started in 2018. The new rules are effective immediately and made some changes to the proposed regulations that were released in May.
Employee Payroll Deductions can Start Immediately
First, the Board clarified that employers can start deducting the necessary wage deductions for employee benefits beginning July 1, 2017.
Paid family leave becomes available on January 1, 2018. The final regulations also clarified that, contrary to the original law, employers do need to post a general and written notice of the upcoming deductions to employees.
Lookback Period Excludes Final Week with Partial Leave Taken
The Board further clarified that when calculating employee benefits, that the 8-week look back period should not include the week where daily leave was taken because that would count a lower paid period (from taking leave) and would minimize the employee’s benefits.
Additionally, when calculating an employee’s average daily rate, the average number of days used in the calculation can include partial day increments.
Scheduled Breaks do not Restart Qualification Period
The Board also affirmed that employees who have regularly scheduled breaks of employment, such as college professors, do not lose eligibility for Family Leave because of those breaks.
It noted that “such consecutive weeks may be tolled during periods of absence that are due to the nature of that employment.”
It clarified that occurs when the employee is not terminated during those periods of absences.
Very Part-Time Workers To Have Right to Opt Out of Family Leave
Under the Paid Family Leave Plan, employees who are covered under the plan must work at least 26 weeks at an average work week of 20 hours or more.
Employees who didn’t meet that minimum had the option to opt out of Paid Family Leave and as a result to avoid paying the payroll deductions for enrollment in the plan. The final rules clarify that employers must offer the ability to opt out of paid family leave to employees who don’t meet the minimum.
This is a change from earlier verbiage, which allowed, but didn’t require employers to offer the chance to opt out to employees.
Taking both Paid Family Leave and Paid Short Term Disability Leave
New York’s Paid Family Leave Law states that employees eligible for family leave and short-term disability (STD) are limited to a total of 26 benefit weeks.
The final rules clarify that for the first year of Paid Family Leave benefits, the lookback period is extended to include any STD leave that was taken in 2017.
Coordinating New York City’s Sick Leave Law and the State’s Family Leave Law
The City of New York’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance provides up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to employees. Sick leave can be used for the employee’s own illness or injury or for an illness or injury of a family member.
It also allows for sick leave use if the place of work, school or care facility is closed due to a public health emergency and for the employee or family member’s choice to participate in elective surgery.
The Board clarified that New York’s Paid Family Leave and New York City’s Sick Leave can be taken concurrently in order to allow an employee to get full paid leave.
However, they noted that Paid Family Leave cannot be taken for the employee’s own needs such as their own elective surgery or their own illness or health condition. It can only be taken concurrently when the employee is taking leave to help with a family member’s health conditions or illnesses.
Let SwipeClock Help
Businesses in New York have to comply with multiple conflicting employment laws defining sick leave accrual, family leave, domestic violence leave and other usage laws.
Additionally, these businesses have to also comply with Federal Overtime Laws, the Family Medical Leave Act and any other national or local laws that are enacted. SwipeClock provides a comprehensive array of workforce management and time tracking tools that can help businesses to more easily stay in compliance with local and national laws.
Records are effortlessly kept for years and accrual is automatically tracked and reported to employees according to the state and city laws. Additionally, with geo-timekeeping clocks, businesses can effortlessly track time worked in specific cities to ensure compliance.