NY State Family Leave Law
NY State Family Leave Law
Information for UMC Churches and affiliated organizations in New York State
Starting January 1, 2018, New York will put in place one of the most comprehensive paid family leave laws in the nation. The final regulations are still pending and guidelines are just becoming available. However, it’s still important to pass along information about the current NY disability law and its upcoming change.
New York is one of a handful of states that require employers to provide disability insurance coverage to employees for an off-the-job injury or illness. This short term disability insurance has been mandated by the state for many years and can be obtained through your local insurance broker or a state-approved carrier. Churches and not-for-profits are not exempt from providing short-term disability insurance for their employees, although clergy themselves are exempt. Starting on January 1, all NY employers must offer paid family leave as a rider to their disability policy.
The NY disability and the paid family leave insurance are not part of our Worker’s Compensation policy. Every local church, with at least one employee (full or part-time) must purchase this policy on their own.
What is the New York Disability Benefit?
- Temporary cash benefits – for a maximum of 26 weeks - paid to a wage earner when disabled by an off the job injury or illness
- The benefit provides cash only, not medical care or medical insurance
What is the New York Paid Family Leave Benefit?
- Allows employee to bond with a newborn, adopted or fostered child
- Allows employee to care for a family member with a serious health condition
- Assists when a family member is deployed on active military duty
- Provides wage replacement for 8 weeks in 2018, increasing up to 12 weeks in 2021
- Provides job protection while on leave
- Provides continuation of health insurance while on leave
Some helpful links:
NY Disability Benefit: http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/offthejob/IntroToLaw_DB.jsp
NY Paid Family Leave Benefit: https://www.ny.gov/programs/new-york-state-paid-family-leave
Employers may choose to cover the cost or deduct the premium cost for the paid family leave insurance policy from employees through a payroll deduction. The law actually allows you to start deducting up to $1 per week now, since employees who have been employed for six months on January 1 will be eligible for up to 8 weeks of paid leave at 50 percent of their weekly pay (capped at 50 percent of the state-wide average pay). The benefit will increase yearly, and in 2021 employees will be eligible for 12 weeks of leave at up to 67 percent of their weekly pay (capped at 67 percent of the state-wide average pay).
The legislative expectation is that employees who need family leave time will now be able to take time off, knowing that their job is safe and that they will still receive a percentage of their pay. Both of these obstacles might have previously prevented lower wage employees from even considering being away from work.
I will continue to update you as more information becomes available from the State of New York, although I strongly advise you not to delay in contacting your insurance broker, getting quotes and putting this policy in place by January 1.