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New York Paid Family Leave Benefits and Employee Contributions Set to Increase January 1, 2020

As we enter the last quarter of 2019 and the business community begins to plan ahead for 2020, New York employers should be aware of the changes coming to the New York Paid Family Leave (“NYPFL”) program. On January 1, 2020, both the amount of employee contributions and weekly benefits allowed under the program are scheduled to increase. This will be the second of three annual increases in weekly benefits.

The NYPFL program, which took effect in 2018, provides partially-paid, job-protected leave for bonding with a new baby, caring for a seriously ill family member, and matters related to a family member who is deployed abroad on active military duty. The length of permissible leave began at eight weeks, is currently at 10 weeks, and will increase to 12 weeks in 2021.

The maximum amount of benefits an employee is entitled to receive while on leave is based on the employee’s average weekly wage (“AWW”) and the State’s average weekly wage (“SAWW”). Effective January 1, 2020, the maximum amount of benefits will be calculated based on 60% of an employee’s AWW, up to a cap set at 60% of the SAWW, The SAWW for 2020 is $1,401.17. The maximum weekly benefit in 2020 will be $840.70 per week.

To ensure sufficient funds to cover the increased benefits, the employee payroll contribution toward NYPFL also will be adjusted on January 1 to 0.270% of an employee’s gross wages each pay period, capped at a maximum annual contribution of $196.72.

As a reminder, beginning January 1, 2021, the last of the annual increases will take effect. On that date, the maximum length of leave will increase to 12 weeks in a 52-consecutive week period and benefits will be payable based on 67% of an employee’s AWW, up to a cap set at 67% of the SAWW.

The following chart sets forth the current status of, and coming changes to, the NYPFL program.

Date

Length of Paid Leave Within a 52-Week Period

Calculation of Benefit Payments

State Average Weekly Wage

Maximum Weekly Benefit Payments

January 1, 2019

Up to 10 weeks

55% of AWW, not to exceed 55% of the SAWW

$1,357.11

$746.41

January 1, 2020

Up to 10 weeks

60% of AWW, not to exceed 60% of the SAWW

$1,401.17

$840.70

January 1, 2021

Up to 12 weeks

67% of AWW, not to exceed 67% of the SAWW

TBD

TBD

©2020 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 277

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS


About this Author

Nancy Gunzenhauser, Labor Employment Attorney, Epstein Becker Law Firm
Associate

NANCY L. GUNZENHAUSER is an Associate in the Labor and Employment practice, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green.

Ms. Gunzenhauser:

  • Counsels clients on compliance with EEO laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, worker classification issues, and other federal, state, and local statutes governing the workplace
  • Advises employers in all facets of the employment relationship, from pre-employment considerations and hiring to terminations and post...
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Frances Kenajian, Epstein Becker Law Firm, New York, Labor & Employment Litigation, Law Clerk
Law Clerk

FRANCES KENAJIAN* is a Law Clerk – Admission Pending – in the Litigation & Business Disputes practice, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green. She will be focusing her practice on business and labor & employment litigation. 

Ms. Kenajian received her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Brooklyn Law School, where she served as a Notes and Comments Editor of the Brooklyn Law School Journal of Law and Policy and received CALI Excellence for the Future Awards in Labor Law and Privacy in the Workplace. While she attended law school, Ms. Kenajian interned for the Honorable Lorna G. Schofield of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and at the New York State Attorney General’s Office, Civil Rights Bureau. She also served as a teaching assistant in Civil Procedure for Professor and Interim Dean of Brooklyn Law School Maryellen Fullerton, and as a research assistant for Professor and Israeli Supreme Court Justice Alex Stein.

Ms. Kenajian earned a master’s degree in Labor and Employment Relations from Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations. While she was a graduate student, she interned at the National Labor Relations Board.

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