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New York Paid Family Leave Law:  Updated Guidance for 2023

Paid Family Leave (“PFL”): Overview and Qualifying Events

The New York Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) Law first went into effect in 2018 with the goal of supporting working families by providing them with economic security to care for their loved ones. PFL is funded by employee payroll deductions and it accomplishes its mission by providing workers with job-protected, paid time off for qualifying events. Eligible employees can take PFL:

  • During the first 12 months following the birth, adoption or fostering of a new child;
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition;
    • Effective January 1, 2023, eligible employees will be able to care for the serious health condition(s) of their biological siblings, adopted siblings, stepsiblings and half-siblings while taking advantage of PFL protections.
  • To assist with family situations arising when the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child or parent is deployed or has been notified of an impending military deployment; and
  • When the employee or the employee’s minor dependent child are under an order of quarantine or in isolation due to COVID-19.

Who is an Eligible Employee?

The New York PFL Law designates categories of workers to determine PFL eligibility:

  • Most employees working for New York private employers are eligible to take PFL.
  • Employees working for New York public employers may be covered for PFL if their employer voluntarily opts into the benefit.
  • Self-employed individuals can voluntarily opt into PFL.
  • Independent contractors are not considered employees for PFL purposes.
  • Out-of-state employees who work in New York and fall into one of these PFL-applicable categories are covered by PFL.

Additionally, both full-time and part-time employees are entitled to participate in PFL. Full-time employees are those who regularly work 20 or more hours per week. They are eligible for PFL after 26 consecutive weeks of employment. Part-time employees are those who work less than 20 hours per week on a regularly schedule. They are eligible for PFL after working 175 days, which do not have to be consecutive.

What Benefits can Eligible Employees Receive?

Eligible employees are provided with up to 12 weeks of job-protected, paid time off and will receive 67% of their average weekly wage, up to a maximum weekly benefit of $1,131.08 for 2023. Eligible employees on PFL are also guaranteed to return to the same or a comparable job and they can keep their health insurance on the same terms they had while working.

How can an Attorney Assist Employers with their PFL Obligations?

An attorney familiar with the New York PFL Law can help employers fulfill their PFL responsibilities. Employers participating in PFL are required to inform their employees, in writing, about their rights under PFL. There are also discretionary considerations that employers can include in their PFL policies, such as how accrued time will affect PFL. An attorney can help employers review their existing PFL policies and procedures or draft new ones, which will provide employees with clear and accurate information of how PFL affects them.

This is not to be considered legal advise.  Please reach out to an attorney for information regarding your specific situation.

Alexander Main is an Associate concentrating municipal, environmental and land use law.
He can be reached by phone 845-764-9656 and by email.

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