Employers have had nearly a year to consider New York’s Paid Family Leave Benefits Law.  With the recent release of proposed Paid Family Leave (PFL) rules by the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB), employers finally have something new to consider as they make plans to offer the required PFL benefits starting January 1, 2018.

As many New Yorkers may recall, the PFL Benefits Law was signed by Governor Cuomo, to much fanfare, in April 2016.  The law amended New York’s Workers’ Compensation Law to require employers, beginning in 2018, to provide one of the strongest PFL benefits in the country in terms of job protection, length of leave, and the amount of pay during that leave.  Once fully implemented, New Yorkers could be entitled to up 12 weeks of job-protected PFL paid at up to 67% of the statewide average weekly wage, for absences due to parental leave, care for a family member, or a family member’s military service.

While providing for robust benefits, the law itself was rather light on details regarding the ultimate implementation, interpretation, and administration of its text.  Those details became a little clearer on February 22nd, when the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) released its proposed PFL rules.

The WCB’s proposed PFL rules are available here.

If you want to skip right to the text, click here.

At the same time that the WCB released its proposed rules, the Department of Financial Services released proposed rules on PFL insurance coverage standards, available here.

It is important to note that these are proposed rules only and are subject to a 45-day comment period (i.e. through April 7th) before final rules may be issued.

Although these rules are not final (yet), they provide valuable information for employers to consider both how they would implement the proposed rules and whether any proposed rule warrants a comment from an employer, attorney, or industry group.

Some highlights from the proposed rules include: 

At 48 pages of single-spaced text, there is much more in the proposed rules than the brief notes listed above.

We will continue to monitor the status of these proposed rules, and will provide an update when final rules are issued. In the meantime, employers should continue to explore how they will provide and administer PFL beginning in 2018.

Need more information? Please contact any member of the firm’s Labor and Employment group for more information on New York’s Paid Family Leave Benefits Law. 

Luke Wright will be speaking about the Paid Family Leave Benefits Law at the HSE Institute’s Labor and Employment Conference on April 5, 2017, in Rochester, NY. This full-day event is devoted to providing practical solutions that drive business strategies while managing challenging compliance obligations. The event features an informal fireside-chat style session with Richard F. Griffin, Jr., General Counsel, National Labor Relations Board. Click here to register.