A Guide to Paid Family Leave Policies for New York State Employers

New York, December 29, 2017– The New York City Bar Association has issued a resource guide for New York State employers on the recently enacted New York State Paid Family Leave Benefits Law (NYSPFL). Effective January 1, 2018, all eligible employees will be entitled to Paid Family Leave, which will improve families’ ability to care for themselves and their families without compromising their economic security by increasing both the number of weeks of leave employees are entitled to take and the amount of benefits they will receive while on leave.

NYC-fmla-employerguideIssued by the City Bar’s Sex and Law Committee, the guide was created to “provide a model minimum policy to employers in order to help simplify the implementation process.” Because data on outcomes after implementation of paid family leave policy law in other states demonstrate that there is room for employers to improve upon NYSPFL, the guide also offers a “better practices” model policy that incorporates levels of leave and benefits that have shown positive outcomes for both employers and employees.

With similar paid family and medical programs already implemented in California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, the guide points to the positive experiences of these states in providing “critically needed benefits at an affordable cost and without burdening businesses.” The guide also notes that while NYSPFL brings these benefits to New York State, “the new law is closer to a good starting point than the ideal” and provides two model policies for employers. The first represents the baseline minimum model policy, “facilitating compliance for employers who can seamlessly incorporate the new policy into their existing human resources guidance.” The second sets out a model policy that lays out the “better” and “best” practices.

Noting that the NYSPFL will initially provide eight weeks of family leave, “better” practice policy provides for 12 weeks – and while NYSPFL will provide 12 weeks starting in 2021, the guide “urges employers to adopt a policy providing for 12 weeks of leave now.”

As employers update and implement their leave policies to conform with the NYSPFL, the guide encourages employers to “give these model policies due consideration in their efforts to ensure that they are following best practices.”

The guide can be read here.

For more information on the NYSPFL, including how to contact the Paid Family Leave Helpline, please visit: https://www.ny.gov/programs/new-york-state-paid-family-leave

About the Association

The New York City Bar Association, since its founding in 1870, has been dedicated to maintaining the high ethical standards of the legal profession, promoting reform of the law and access to justice, and providing service to the profession and the public. The Association, through its 24,000 members, continues to work for political, legal and social reform, while implementing innovative means to help the disadvantaged. Protecting the public’s welfare remains one of the Association’s highest priorities. www.nycbar.org