Employer Prep Work for Paid Family Leave

By now you probably have some basic information regarding New York State’s Paid Family Leave law (PFL). Now you need to know: What do I do next?!?!?

There are a few things employers can do now to fully prepare for this new, mandated benefit. NYS regulators are taking their time in finalizing the soon to be required paperwork, but that doesn’t mean employers don’t need to be ready to go on January 1st, 2018. Here are some suggestions to make your life a bit easier come the new year:

Update your handbook!

  • Even if you don’t currently have a handbook, you need to prepare a standalone written document explaining employee rights and obligations under PFL, which includes how to file a claim.
  • Do you offer FMLA, or are you required to offer it? If so, then written guidance should let the employee know if the two benefits are going to run concurrent, or separate. Some leave requests would be granted under both benefits, while others will apply to just one. Employers need to determine how to handle this and should have it documented.
  • Similar to FMLA, employers must decide how to handle Paid Time Off (PTO) policies in conjunction with PFL. Employees cannot be forced to use personal time first, but the employer may allow employees to offset PFL compensation with earned PTO time. This needs to be done equally for all employees, and should be stated clearly in the employee handbook.

Employers need to know who has the ability to opt out of PFL, and provide them documents to do so.

  • Seasonal employees, and Part timers who will never reach the minimum number of hours to be eligible (20 hours a week for 26 weeks), fall into this category. NYS has not approved the form to allow employees to waive, but with deductions already being taken out for some employers, our advice is to create your own form then update it when the approved form becomes available.

Lastly, be on the lookout for, and post conspicuously, NYS PFL compliance posters.

  • These should come from your current NYS Disability Benefits Law (DBL) carrier; they will be handling your Paid Family Leave.

If you have questions regarding Paid Family Leave, please reach out to your KBM Representative.

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