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New York paid family leave will give parents time off work to care for infants.

How the New York Paid Family Leave Policy Affects Small Business Owners

On April 4, 2016, the state of New York passed a paid family leave law. This new law will give New York employees up to 12 weeks of paid family leave.

New York paid family leave details

Paid family leave in New York will be gradually phased in.

Beginning January 1, 2018, workers will get up to eight weeks of leave per year. Workers will receive 50% of their average weekly salary, capped at 50% of the statewide average weekly wage.

In 2021, the amount of leave will increase to 12 weeks. Employees will receive 67% of their average weekly salary, capped at 67% of the statewide average weekly wage.

Employees who regularly work at least 20 hours per week are eligible for benefits after 26 weeks of employment. Employees who regularly work less than 20 hours per week are eligible for benefits after 175 days worked.

New York paid leave provides both maternity and paternity leave to care for an infant. Workers can also use leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or to relieve family pressures when a family member is called to active military service.

New York’s paid family leave policy applies to employees at all businesses, both large and small.


What will paid family leave cost you?

Your business will not directly pay anything to support New York’s paid family leave policy. Instead, you will subtract a small deduction from employee paychecks. The deduction is 0.126% of the employee’s weekly wage, not to exceed 0.126% of the New York State average weekly wage of $1,305.92. You may begin the wage deductions beginning on July 1, 2017. You will remit the deductions, which will pay for employees who take family leave.

While you do not have to fund the paid leave program, you might have added expenses when an employee uses leave. You might lose time and money if you hire and train a temporary employee. Your business might also see decreased productivity.

Paid family leave as a larger trend

The U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not guarantee paid family leave to employees. But, that is changing state by state.

New York isn’t the only state with paid family leave laws. California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island also offer paid family leave. Just one day after New York passed its paid family leave policy, San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to require fully paid leave for new parents.

Many other states have either introduced a paid leave bill or are actively looking into the issue.

State-mandated paid family leave is a trend. Even if your state doesn’t have legislation in the works, you can start preparing now.

What family leave do you give employees? You might not provide any leave. Or, your leave might not be paid. Think about how you could begin implementing a leave policy. Having a family leave policy might require you to reevaluate your budget.

Not all state family leave policies are set up like New York’s. Some states require employers to pay for the leave. If your state adopts a family leave policy, how would you pay for it? How could you adjust your budget?

If your state doesn’t require family leave, employees might be able to use Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. The FMLA parental leave allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for qualifying family and medical reasons. However, only businesses with 50 or more employees are required to grant FMLA leave.

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