Effective Jan 1, 2019, New York increased the number of weeks eligible employees can take under the Paid Family Leave Law from eight weeks to ten weeks per year. In addition, the average weekly wage increased to 55 percent (up from 50 percent in 2018), up to a cap of 55 percent of the current statewide average weekly wage of $1,357.11. As a result, the new maximum weekly benefit for 2019 for employees who are on NY Paid Family Leave is $746.41.
As discussed in an earlier Compliance Corner, an eligible employee can take NY Paid Family Leave to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service. The law contains a phased-in system for eligible workers that will continue to rise through 2021, when eligible employees will be able to take up to twelve weeks of paid, job-protected leave.
Correspondingly, the 2019 employee contribution rate will also increase from 0.126 percent to 0.153 percent of an employee’s gross wages each pay period (capped at the statewide average weekly wage). So, an employee’s maximum annual contribution will increase from $85.56 to $107.97. Employers were able to start taking deductions at the new 2019 rate as of Jan. 1, 2019.
The state has also updated their website to describe the 2019 benefits available under NY Paid Family Leave, including an outline of the 2019 weekly benefit as well as the phase-in transition through to 2021. The website also provides additional FAQs specifically related to the 2019 changes, including how to address individuals that began a leave in 2018 that extended into 2019, and those employees that experience an additional qualifying event in 2019 after already exhausting the eight week leave within the last 52-week period.
Please also note that effective Feb. 3, 2019, the definition of “serious health condition” was expanded to include preparation for and recovery from surgery related to organ or tissue donation, ensuring those who donate organs can be cared for by their eligible family members under NY Paid Family Leave.
NY Paid Family Leave 2019 Updates »