family leave laws nyc

Keeping up with legislative changes and compliance regulations is an ongoing challenge for Employers.  Whether you partner with your internal Human Resources and/or Compliance teams or work with a knowledgeable onsite outsourcing or staffing solutions partner, you’ll want to be sure you’re up on the latest. This article summarizes the steps employers can take to meet the responsibilities of the New York State Paid Family Leave (the “NYPFL Law”) legislation effective this month.

What is New York State Paid Family Leave?

As of January 1, 2018, businesses must offer job-protected paid leave for eligible employees to:

  • Bond with a newly born, adopted or fostered child
  • Care for a close relative with a serious health condition
  • Assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service.

The newly implemented New York State Paid Family Leave (NYPFL) guarantees:

  • Paid time off for 8 weeks in 2018, increasing to 12 weeks by 2021
  • Job protection upon return from Paid Family Leave
  • Continuation of health insurance while out on Paid Family Leave

How to Ensure Compliance with NYPFL

You may already have been proactive, but it’s worth reviewing ways to approach the change. Below are some steps you can take to move towards compliance and ensuring that your managers and supervisors know what to do and your employees understand what is available to them. Here are the steps your company can take to comply with NYPFL.

1. Consult with your business’s legal counsel to determine how this legislation impacts your company specifically.
2. Confirm that you have added the NYPFL rider to your NY State Disability Policy. If you are a private employer with one or more employees, you should be contacting your broker or insurer to find out about policies and premium payment plans.
3. Communicate company-wide about the NYPFL and what it entails, eligibility, and how it will be managed in your specific environment. Ways to get the message out include:

  • Companywide email
  • Staff newsletter
  • Informational sessions
  • Lunch ‘n Learn
  • Social media messaging

4. Update your employee handbook. Clearly outline eligibility and benefit levels related to NYPFL. Also clarify who will pay for the benefits. If you don’t have a handbook, make available written guidelines.
5. Review your HRIS and payroll systems to determine whether new coding is needed for NYPFL. You may need to update processes to collect employee contributions to pay for the insurance.
6. Educate the entire HR team as well as anyone who manages or supervises direct reports about the changes. They will need to understand what NYPFL involves and how to effectively counsel eligible employees.
7. Make sure that the appropriate forms are available to employees via your internal portal, HR department, or links on your employee site. Inform ineligible employees that they have the option to waive coverage.

Taking the time to educate staff about the opportunities around NYPFL can enhance office morale. If information is power, the company that shares that power with its employees gains their trust and helps them to feel cared for and respected.

Forrest Solutions has enjoyed success with these steps already. Our clients can feel confident that the staff we provide know about their leave opportunities and are being fully supported by our own HR team. In the meantime, if your business has any questions about NYPFL, Forrest Solutions’ HR department is here to help. Just reach out to one of our industry experts today!