by Marti Cardi, Esq. - Senior Compliance Consultant and Legal Counsel
March 02, 2017
The New York Paid Family Leave act goes into effect on January 1, 2018. This law provides both job protection similar to the FMLA, and also provides a pay benefit to employees during covered leaves of absence. Now, New York Governor Cuomo has announced that the proposed regulations in support of the law have been published in the State Register and are open for public comment for 45 days. Links to the text of the proposed regulations and related materials can be found on the New York State website here.
The law phases in from 2018 through 2021. Job-protected leave starts at 8 weeks per 12-month period and increases to 12 weeks; pay benefits start at 50% and increase to 67% in 2021. Leave is available to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, and tend to matters due to the active duty military deployment of a family member. A more detailed review of the law’s provisions is available on our prior Matrix Radar blog post here and in the state’s announcement of the proposed regulations.
The state has also created a new helpline (844) 337-6303 and a new website to answer questions and provide more information about the paid leave program.
Part of a Trend
Three other states – California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island – also have state programs for paid family leave, and Washington, D.C., has passed such a program to go into effect in 2020 (subject to review by the U.S. House and Senate). These states and also Hawaii, New York, and Puerto Rico offer separate programs for disability insurance for an employee’s own health condition.
But that’s not all! As of February 28, the following 10 states have also introduced legislation for paid family leave: Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia (died in committee within 3 weeks of proposal – that was quick!). Some of these also include pay benefits for leave due to the employee’s own health condition. In addition, the state of Washington passed paid family leave legislation in 2007 but it never went into effect due to lack of funding. Washington has introduced new bills this year to provide that funding and implement its paid leave law.
Matrix and Reliance Standard Can Help!
At Matrix we have been waiting for this development. We will closely review the proposed regulations, inform our clients, business partners, and readers of any significant provisions, and submit comments to the state if appropriate. We’ll do the same when the regulations – as is or revised – become final.
In the meantime, Matrix’s compliance and product leaders are guiding a team with representatives from all affected functional areas in preparing to administer the job-protected leave provisions of the law effective January 1, 2018. Our sister company, Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, has likewise assembled a team of representatives from all functional areas to design the product offering. In order to be ready by the effective date, Reliance Standard has already created system requirements and is preparing to start development.