Effective January 1, 2019, New York Paid Family Leave will implement important changes to both the level of benefits as well as the cost.
In 2019 the maximum number of weeks will increase from 8 to 10. The benefit amount will increase from 50% to 55% of an employee’s average weekly wage, subject to a cap of 55% of the 2019 New York State Average Weekly Wage ($1,357.11). This means the maximum weekly benefit will increase from $652.96 to an estimated $746.41
On August 31, 2018, The New York Department of Financial Services determined that a rate increase was necessary to address the increase in benefit levels along with claim activity that has occurred in 2018. Therefore, the 2019 rate for PFL will increase from 0.126% to 0.153% of an employee’s gross covered wages. The maximum annual contribution will increase from $85.56 to $107.97
As a result, New York State has published updates to both the Employee Notice of Paid Family Leave Payroll Deduction for 2019 and Model Language for Employee Materials. They are helpful transition tools for the upcoming 2019 changes.
What Can You Do Now?
- Start updating employee handbooks with updated information.
- Contact your payroll company to be sure they will make the increased deduction effective January 1, 2019.
- Notify employees of the upcoming changes in benefits and costs.
Employers with Employees not Subject to New York Disability Laws
New York State has made a clarification to its termination procedure. If you wish to exit both NYS Disability and Paid Family Leave, you may do so with 90 days’ notice to the Workers’ Compensation Board, as long as you have had PFL in place for 12 months. There is no longer a cutoff date of January 1 to exit. For example: You can submit notice to the Worker’s Compensation Board on November 1, 2018 to exit PFL effective February 1, 2019. The other criteria and procedures have not changed.
Process to Terminate NYPFL and Statutory Disability:
1. Submit a letter, on school or company letterhead stating you wish to cease coverage for Statutory Disability and New York Paid Family Leave for all classes of employees not subject to Statutory Disability or New York Paid Family Leave regulations. The letter should include the full name of your organization, FEIN number and Disability Insurance Policy number. Letters must be received by the Workers’ Compensation Board 90 days in advance of DBL/PFL termination.
Submit the letter to:
New York State Workers’ Compensation Board
Bureau of Compliance
328 State Street
Schenectady, NY 12305
-Or send via email attachment to PAU@wcb.ny.gov
2. Please provide Austin & Co., Inc. a copy of the letter so we can notify your Statutory Disability Insurance Carrier of the change.
3. Employees must be notified at least 90 days before coverage is terminated.
4. As of the DBL/PFL termination date, you will no longer be required to submit payroll or employee count information to your Statutory Disability Insurance Carrier for employees not subject to Statutory Disability and New York Paid Family Leave.
5. You will still be required to provide both Statutory Disability and New York Paid Family leave to all employees that are subject to Statutory Disability and New York Paid Family Leave.