July/August 2017 - Final PFL Regulations Released - Top 10 Things to Know

The wait is over! On July 19, 2017, New York’s Workers’ Comp Board (WCB) adopted final regulations on Paid Family Leave. This was the last piece of the puzzle in allowing insurance carriers, employers, and brokers to gear up and implement Paid Family Leave capabilities before the phase-in of PFL begins in January 2018. 

While we are finalizing all our administrative details, such as a fully detailed claims process, employers will have to prepare for Paid Family Leave as well – and it brings new obligations and compliance considerations to employers. Sign up here to stay in the know!

Here are the top 10 things to keep in mind:

  1. Employers that have to provide DBL, must provide PFL.
  2. All employees who are currently covered under DBL, will be covered under (and thereby have the right to take) PFL effective 01/01/2018 – some employees could be out as early as the very first day of next year!
  3. Just like with DBL, a printed PFL notice will need to be displayed and posted as published by New York State later this year.
  4. PFL benefits phase in over 4 years with gradually increasing benefit amount and duration, so it’s important to stay on top of annual changes to the maximum benefits.
  5. New York State sets the rate and can change it every year – this is something else to look out for on an annual basis.
  6. Employers can start taking payroll deductions starting July 1, 2017. Get the scoop on early deductions and maximum contributions here.
  7. Employers cannot require employees to exhaust their accumulated PTO before letting them go out on paid family leave.
  8. Employees will need to give 30 days’ notice for foreseeable leave. This means employers could start receiving notices by 12/01 of this year.
  9. PFL provides job security for employees out on paid leave, similar to unpaid leave under FMLA, but regardless of the size of the employer.
  10. If an employer declines to reinstate an employee returning from PFL, the employee may report that employer to New York State. The employer then has 30 days to either take corrective action or file a formal response to the employee.

*For covered employers also subject to FMLA:
 When PFL needs to be coordinated with approved FMLA leave, the employer can require the employee to exhaust accrued PTO.

4 things employers can do now to prepare:

  1. Since the maximum contribution for PFL is based on each employee’s wage/salary, this may add to the complexity of current payroll tracking/administration.

    PFL Expert Tip: Start looking for solutions to reduce the added burden.

  2. Since paid leave can be taken in daily increments/intermittent intervals (such as every other Monday), absence management may become more complex. This may be overwhelming for employers who are not subject to FMLA, as FMLA already requires granular absence management capabilities.

    PFL Expert Tip: Start looking into solutions to keep track of intermittent leave efficiently.

  3. There’s a good chance one or more employees at a company will take PFL in 2018 – maybe even as early as January 1.  Do you have a staffing plan to cover their workload(s)?

    PFL Expert Tip
    Plan now to avoid staffing gaps in 2018. Whether it means cross-training teams in different roles or looking into short-term staffing solutions from temp agencies.

  4. Employers must add PFL to their written guidance for employees concerning employee benefits & leave rights, such as an employee handbook.

    PFL Expert Tip: Even if no written manuals are in place now, the employer will have to create written guidance on PFL, including information on how to file a claim for paid family leave!

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