NEW YORK – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the state has adopted regulations implementing New York’s landmark Paid Family Leave program. These regulations outline the responsibilities of employers and insurance carriers in implementing the most comprehensive paid family leave program in the nation.
Starting January 1, 2018, Paid Family Leave will provide employees with wage replacement and job protection to help them bond with a child, care for a close relative with a serious health condition, or help relieve family pressures when someone is deployed abroad on active military service. Employees are also entitled to be reinstated to their job when their leave ends and to the continuation of their health insurance during their leave.
“There is a time in everyone’s lives where being there for a loved one in need is more important than anything and – finally – New Yorkers will no longer have to choose between losing their job and being a decent human being,” Governor Cuomo said. “By enacting and implementing the strongest paid family leave program in the nation, this administration is taking yet another step forward to providing economic justice to all New Yorkers.”
Private employers must secure Paid Family Leave insurance coverage or self-insure in time to provide coverage on January 1, 2018. Paid Family Leave premiums will be funded by employees through payroll deductions.
The regulations address eligibility, coverage, the phase-in schedule for Paid Family Leave, and more information on how employees, employers, and insurance carriers will interact to pay benefits. The Workers’ Compensation Board regulations implementing Paid Family Leave are available here. The Department of Financial Services implementing regulations for insurance companies, adopted on May 31, 2017, are available here.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, “By establishing the nation’s most comprehensive paid family leave program, New York State stands with working and middle-class families who should not have to make the choice between earning a paycheck and caring for a sick child or ailing parent. Employers and employees alike will benefit greatly and should take advantage of a policy that once again establishes New York as a model for others to follow.”
Workers’ Compensation Board Chair Kenneth J. Munnelly said, “These regulations will help successfully implement this historic program and give employers and employees ample time to prepare for its arrival. With its strong Paid Family Leave program, New York State is forging a path forward and improving the lives of New York’s hard working families.”
Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo said, “DFS is proud to help implement Governor Cuomo’s vision to provide working New Yorkers with the most comprehensive paid family leave program in the United States. New York continues to be a trailblazer in providing hardworking families the financial and job security they deserve.”
A Better Balance Co-Founder and Co-President Dina Bakst said, “Today, New York takes another important step forward for its landmark paid family leave law. This groundbreaking program, which will begin protecting workers in January, will ensure working New Yorkers will no longer have to make the impossible choice between being with their families when they need them the most and their economic security. New York’s historic commitment to workers provides a powerful example for policymakers across the country.”
Executive Director of the New York Paid Leave Coalition Donna Dolan said, “We applaud Governor Cuomo, the Workers’ Compensation Board and the Department of Financial Services for their adoption of final regulations for the new Paid Family Leave law. With the Governor’s commitment to an ambitious, impressive roll-out of this landmark law, New Yorkers are being educated on its game-changing aspects, which will allow them to receive partial pay when caring for a newborn, caring for a seriously ill family member or relieving family pressures when someone is called to active military service. Excitement is building for this life-changing benefit that begins January 1, 2018.”
Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York Karen Scharff said, “All workers deserve time to care for their loved ones, and no one should have to choose between that care and a pay check. New York’s Paid Family Leave program will protect families, our communities and our economy, and begin to address years of growing inequality.”
For more information, visit the Paid Family Leave website at www.ny.gov/paidfamilyleave. The public can also call the Paid Family Leave helpline at (844) 337-6303 with any questions.
Paid Family Leave Basics
Paid Family Leave provides coverage for:
• Parents during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child;
• Employees caring for a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild with a serious health condition; and
• Employees assisting loved ones when a spouse, child, domestic partner, or parent is deployed abroad on active military duty.
• Employees with a regular work schedule of 20 or more hours per week are eligible after 26 weeks of employment.
• Employees with a regular work schedule of less than 20 hours per week are eligible after 175 days worked.
Insurance Coverage: Paid Family Leave coverage will typically be included as a rider to an employer’s existing disability insurance policy, and will be fully funded by employees through payroll deductions. In 2018, the maximum employee contribution is 0.126% of an employee’s weekly wage up to 0.126% of the annualized New York State Average Weekly Wage. The program is mandatory for nearly all private employers. Public employers may opt into the program.
Phase-in Schedule: Paid Family Leave will be phased in over four years, beginning January 1, 2018. In 2018, employees may take up to eight weeks of paid leave at 50% of an employee’s average weekly wage up to 50% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage. That increases to 12 weeks of paid leave in 2021 paid at 67% of an employee’s average weekly wage up to 67% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage.