October 27, 2020

Volume X, Number 301

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October 27, 2020

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October 26, 2020

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New York Paid Family Leave Benefits and Employee Contributions Set to Increase January 1, 2021

As we approach the last quarter of 2020 and the business community begins to plan ahead for 2021, New York employers should be aware of the changes coming to the New York Paid Family Leave (“NYPFL”) program. On January 1, 2021, the amount of employee contributions, the number of weeks of leave and benefits, and the amount of weekly benefits granted under the program are scheduled to increase. This will be the last 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 of leave beginning on and after January 1, 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, 2021, the maximum amount of benefits will be calculated based on 67% of an employee’s AWW, up to a cap set at 67% of the SAWW, The SAWW for 2021 is $1,450.17. The maximum weekly benefit in 2021 will be $971.61 per week.

To ensure sufficient funds to cover the increased benefits, the employee payroll contribution toward NYPFL also will be adjusted on January 1, 2021 to 0.511% of an employee’s gross wages each pay period, capped at a maximum annual contribution of $385.34.

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, 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

$1450.17

$971.61

Employers should review their policies and leave procedures to ensure employees are being offered the appropriate leaves of absence. Further, employers should review their payroll practices to reflect the new employee contributions.

©2020 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 261
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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...
212-351-3758
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.

212-351-5547
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