New York State’s Paid Family Leave provides New Yorkers with job-protected, paid leave to bond with a newly born, adopted, or fostered child within the first 12 months, or to care for a family member — such as a spouse, domestic partner, child/stepchild or anyone for whom they have legal custody — with a serious health condition. This policy also applies to an employee’s parent/stepparent, parent-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild.
In addition, employees can use New York State’s Paid Family Leave to take time they may need in order to relieve family pressures when a spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent is called to active military service abroad. However, the leave cannot apply to an employee’s own qualifying military service.
For 2019, covered employees are eligible for up to 10 weeks of paid leave equal to 55% of their average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $746.41 per week. Benefits will be phased in each year through 2021, when covered employees will be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid leave equal to 67% of their average weekly wage, up to a cap equal to 67% of the NYS average weekly wage. Employees can only take PFL in whole-day increments. All other leave benefits, such as Paid Time Off or New York State Short Term Disability benefits, cannot be taken the same day as PFL.
“Covered employees”— that is, those who are eligible for PFL coverage — can include full- and part-time employees.
Employees with a regular work schedule of 20 or more hours per week are eligible for coverage after 26 consecutive weeks of employment. Note that the 26 consecutive weeks of employment includes periods of absence that are due to the nature of that employment, such as semester breaks, and when employment is not terminated during those periods of absence.
Employees with a regular work schedule of less than 20 hours per week are eligible after 175 days worked. There is no minimum number of hours of work required in each day.
Rensselaer faculty, Rensselaer at Hartford Campus staff, and those who do not work in New York State are not covered by the New York State Paid Family Leave Policy.
Paid Family Leave can be taken either all at once or intermittently, but must be taken in full-day increments.
Employees who foresee that they may need to use PFL should notify the Division of Human Resources and their supervisor at least 30 days before the start of leave; otherwise, as soon as possible.
For more information about the New York State Paid Family Leave Policy, eligibility, types of leave, and request forms, please visit the New York State Paid Family Leave website, or contact Louis Padula, Director of Benefits, Retirement, and HRIS, in the Division of Human Resources at (518) 276-6164.
PFL coverage will be paid for in full by employee payroll tax deductions. For the 2019 calendar year, the New York State Department of Financial Services has set PFL premium tax rates equal to 0.153% of gross wages paid up to a maximum of $107.97 for the year. For example, a covered employee who earns $1,000 in a pay period would be required to contribute $1.53 in PFL tax premiums for that pay period.
PFL Waiver Form
With the exception of Rensselaer employees excluded by law (as noted), as of January 1, 2019, Rensselaer will withhold PFL premiums (on an after-tax basis) from employee payroll checks issued to all covered employees except those who have elected to file an optional PFL waiver with Rensselaer because their employment schedule will not allow them to meet PFL eligibility requirements.
Employees are eligible to waive PFL coverage only if (1) their regular employment schedule is 20 hours or more per week but they will not work 26 consecutive weeks, or (2) their regular employment schedule is less than 20 hours per week and they will not work 175 days in 52 consecutive weeks.
For those employees who waive the PFL payroll deduction and have a change in their schedule that requires them to continue working either: (1) 20 or more hours per week for 26 or more consecutive weeks or (2) less than 20 hours per week and at least 175 days in a 52-consecutive-week period, the waiver form they submitted will be revoked and the appropriate payroll deductions will be made from their wages. In addition, Rensselaer will deduct all retroactive amounts due once the employee is notified, back to their hire date or January 1, 2019, whichever is later. Employees are therefore asked to please carefully consider their work schedule and only submit a PFL waiver if their regular work schedule will not reach the eligibility requirements.
The choice to waive PFL is optional and revocable. A PFL waiver form entitled: “Employee Opt-Out of Paid Family Leave Benefits” is available for part-time covered employees, and for full-time covered employees with a work schedule of less than 26 consecutive weeks. Employees who are eligible to opt-out of PFL coverage and wish to do so must fill out and submit the optional waiver form.
To obtain this waiver form, please contact the Division of Human Resources at (518) 276-6302, or visit the New York State Paid Family Leave website. Employees who complete a waiver will not contribute to PFL through payroll deductions and will not be eligible for leave or benefit payments under PFL. The employee must complete and sign the waiver form and send it to the Division of Human Resources for final sign-off.