New York Paid Family Leave – Final Regulations Out but No Surprises

Posted on: July 20, 2017 0

By Marti Cardi, VP-Product Compliance

& Gail Cohen, Director-Employment Law/Compliance

On July 19, the New York Workers’ Compensation Board issued its final regulations in support of the state’s Paid Family Leave law (NY PFL), which requires employers to provide paid leave benefits to employees starting January 1, 2018.  The final regulations follow a public comment period on the proposed rules issued on May 24, 2017.   The Board received 58 comments and has also issued an Assessment of Public Comment on Revised Proposed Regulations which provides a summary of the comments receive and the Board’s response.   Few substantive changes were made as a result of the comments, but the Assessment provides helpful clarifications on many provisions – even those for which it did not make any changes.

Here is a summary of the more noteworthy (or more interesting) changes and clarifications.

Coverage of employees outside the state of New York

Several comments requested the Board to change the regulations so that employees who do not live and work in New York are not covered by NY PFL.  The Board declined to make this change and clarified that an employee is entitled to NY PFL leave and benefits if some of his or her work is performed in New York and the employee is either: (1) based in New York; (2) controlled from New York; or (3) lives in New York.

In addition, the Board received a request to amend the regulations to allow employers to include non-New York employees in their coverage under NY PFL .  The Board pointed out it does not have authority to regulate employees or insurance outside the state of New York and declined to amend the regulations per this request.

Multiple or extended leaves under NY PFL and other programs

The Board confirmed that an employee may be able to take leave in 2017 under company policies (or the FMLA) and then be entitled to leave and benefits under NY PFL for the same qualifying event in 2018.  Examples:

  • An employee who receives a new child on August 1, 2017, could take bonding leave under company policies

(which may provide a pay benefit) and/or FMLA in 2017, then take up to 8 weeks of bonding leave under NY PFL any time from January 1 through July 31 in 2018.

  • An employee could take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave in late 2017 to care for a covered family member

with a serious health condition, then take up to 8 weeks of leave starting January 1, 2018, to continue care for the same family member.

Fortunately, this anomaly will only occur for certain leaves in 2017 and 2018, and not for subsequent years.

Notice of payroll deductions to employees

There is no requirement in either the statute or the regulations for employers to give notice to their employees of NY PFL payroll deductions.  However, Matrix recommends that employers should, in fact, provide notice of the employees’ contributions and other aspects of NY PFL so that employees have the facts and appropriate expectations.  Matrix has prepared a sample introductory communication to employees for consideration, and will work with clients to craft additional messaging in Q4 2017. Employers should consult with employment counsel to ensure employee communications are appropriate to the law as well as their own corporate policies and practice.

Military exigency leave

NY PFL provides leave to care for several defined family members with a serious health condition, including the employee’s child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, grandchild, and grandparent.  However, the Board has confirmed military exigency leave under NY PFL (which adopts the provisions of the FMLA for this leave) is NOT available for leave necessitated by the military service of a grandparent or grandchild.

Leave and benefits under both New York disability and paid family leave laws

The Board received inquiry about an employee’s ability to receive both disability (DBL) and PFL benefits for the same birth of a child.  The Board pointed out that the regulations clearly state an employee can collect both disability benefits and paid family leave in the post-partum period, but not at the same time.  Thus, a new mother could receive disability benefits for some period of time following giving birth, and then take paid family leave within the one year period following the date of birth.

The Board did not address the possibility of using NY PFL for the week following birth during the 7-day waiting period for disability benefits, then switch to disability benefits followed with more paid family leave for bonding.  There appears to be nothing in the statute or the regulations that would prohibit this, since NY PFL can be taken in increments of one day or more.

The NY disability and PFL laws limit an employee’s total benefits under both programs to 26 weeks in a 52-week period.  The Board clarified that because the employee’s use of benefits is calculated retroactively backward from each day of usage, this will bridge the 52-week period back into year 2017 during 2018.

Employee waiver of NY PFL coverage and deductions

NY PFL allows an employee who expects that his/her term of employment will be less than 26 weeks for employees working 20 hours per week or more (or 175 work days for employees working fewer than 20 hours per week) can elect to waive coverage and payroll deductions.  In response to a request for clarification, the Board has amended the regulations such that employers MUST provide notice to employees of their right to waive coverage.  The waiver must be in writing and if the employee’s term of employment exceeds 26 weeks or 175 work days, the employer must start payroll deductions and can collect back premiums from the employee.  The regulations do not address how the employer is allowed to collect the back premiums, but other provisions make it unlikely that additional deductions from the employee’s paycheck would be permissible.

Employers will not be permitted to automatically waive PFL coverage for short-term workers.  According to the Board, it is the employee’s election to make.

Notice to employee of completed pre-filed claim

The draft regulations required carriers to provide employees who pre-filed a claim a confirmation of receipt of the completed claim within one business day.  Due to objections about the practicality of processing and assessing a claim for completeness within one day, the regulations have been changed to allow a carrier or self-insured employer three business days to send the confirmation.  The payment must still be made within 18 days of receipt of the complete claim.

Inconsistency between carrier’s and employer’s determination of NY PFL benefits and leave rights

The Board received a comment recognizing that “there could be a disconnect between the carrier’s determination and the employer’s determination about whether or not leave should be denied.”   I’m quoting here because I’m not sure how else to explain this issue:  The Board’s less-than-satisfactory response is, “Because the employer does not decide whether to approve or deny a paid family leave claim, and if the employer suspects fraud it is free to contact the carrier, no change to the regulations has been made.”  The Board did not address the question whether the employer would be acting properly if it chooses to use the carrier’s benefits determination as a proxy for the leave determination, thus eliminating the possibility of such inconsistency.

Rights of employees with more than one job

An employee working simultaneously for more than one New York employer will have NY PFL contributions deducted from their pay from each employer.  The Board confirmed that yes, an employee can take NY PFL leave and receive benefits from multiple employers at the same time for the same leave reason.  The Board acknowledged that this might result in the employee receiving total benefits in excess of the statutory cap available from employment with a single employer.  However, the Board confirmed that the total number of weeks of NY PFL leave and benefits available to an employee in a 52-week period is still subject to the 8-week limit in 2018 (increasing to 12 weeks by 2021).

WHAT IS MATRIX DOING NOW?

Whew!  That is about all I can bring to light in the 24-ish hours since the final regulations were published.  But we are FAR FROM DONE!

In June Matrix presented webinars, FAQs, and other materials to help employers and brokers understand and prepare for New York Paid Family Leave.  Over the coming days and weeks, we will use the final regulations and comments to update all materials, and develop additional ones as warranted. In August we will host another round of webinars.

In the meantime you can always learn more about the law as follows:

  • Check out these prior blog posts (but remember some information has changed due to revisions to the

regulations, including those discussed above):

May 2017

March 2017

April 2016

great introductory primer).

  • Ask a question OR sign up for our NY PFL Tip-Of-The-Week by emailing nypfl@rsli.com.

 

MATRIX CAN HELP!  Matrix provides leave, disability, and accommodation management services to employers seeking a comprehensive and compliant solution to these complex employer obligations. We monitor the many leave laws being passed around the country and specialize in understanding how they work together. For leave management and accommodation assistance, contact us at ping@matrixcos.com.

NEW YORK HONING IN: Paid Family Leave Revised Regulations are Out, but Still Not Final

Posted on: May 29, 2017 0

By Marti Cardi, VP-Product Compliance

 

The New York Workers’ Compensation Board has issued revised regulations interpreting and supporting the state’s Paid Family Leave law that will start providing employees with pay benefits on January 1, 2018.  This revised version of the regulations, published on May 24, 2017, is still not final.  The Board is accepting comments for 30 days, or until June 23, 2017.

As a reminder, the law phases in from 2018 through 2021.  Job-protected leave starts at 8 weeks per 12-month period and increases to 12 weeks; pay benefits start at 50% and increase to 67% in 2021.  Leave is available to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, and tend to matters due to the active duty military deployment of a family member.    A more detailed review of the law’s provisions is available on our prior Matrix Radar blog post here.

Along with the revised proposed regulations, the Board published a summary of the 117 comments received during the public comment period from advocacy groups, individual employees, and associations representing businesses, insurance carriers, law firms, unions, and employees.   Here are a few interesting issues raised by the comments and the Board’s responses:

Employee Eligibility. NY PFL requires employees to become eligible for family leave after either 26 weeks or 175 days of work, depending on their schedule. The original regulations applied the 175-day eligibility rule only to part-time employees who worked fewer than 5 days per week.   Section 380-2.5 has been amended to apply the 26 week eligibility criteria to employees who work 20 or more hours per week, and the 175-day eligibility criteria to those who work less than 20 hours per week.  380-2.5(a) and (b).

Employer’s Lack of Cooperation. Some insurance carriers requested clarity around their obligations if an employer refuses to cooperation in the PFL benefits process.  The Board responded that the regulations then require the carrier to communicate directly with the employee, and the employer’s lack of cooperation is not grounds for denial of benefits.   380-5.4(e).

ICD-10 Code. The proposed regulations originally required that certifications from medical providers of a family member’s serious health condition include the ICD-10 code for the diagnosed condition.  Commenters identified various concerns, ranging from possible delays caused by incomplete forms, to health privacy concerns. In light of these comments, this section has been amended to remove the provision requiring that the ICD-10 code be included as part of the family member’s certification.  380-4.2(a)(3).

Employee Language Preference.  The original proposed regulations required an insurance carrier or self-insured employer to make all communications with an employee in the language identified by the employee on the Request for Paid Family Leave.  The Board received several comments expressing concern that complying with this requirement will be overly burdensome and prohibitively expensive. As a result, the Board has indicated that it will translate the request for paid family leave forms and instructions into seven languages (not identified), and has revised the regulation to state that insurance carriers or self-insured employers must make all reasonable efforts consistent with the principles set forth in Executive Order 26.”  §380-5.4(h).

Denial of Claim. Any denial of a claim for PFL benefits must be issued within 18 days of receipt of a completed claim.  The revised proposed regulations have added a section specifying that the notice to the employee must state the reason for the denial, repeat any relevant information filed in the request for PFL, and include any other information considered by the carrier in making the denial decision.  380-5.4§(a)(1).

Employer Size for Coverage. Several small employers and individuals expressed concerns about the adverse effect of paid family leave on small employers. The statute defines a covered employer as an employer with one or more employees, and this cannot be modified by regulation. Therefore, no change has been made.

Employee Contributions during Leave. The Board has revised the regulations to clarify that an employer can continue to deduct PFL contributions while an employee is receiving disability or PFL benefits.  380-7.2(b)(4).

The full text of the revised proposed regulations, a summary of all comments received, and other NY PFL information is available on the Paid Family Leave page of the Workers’ Compensation Board website:  http://www.wcb.ny.gov/PFL/pfl-regs.jsp.

MATRIX CAN HELP!

Matrix provides leave, disability, and accommodation management services to employers seeking a comprehensive and compliant solution to these complex employer obligations. We monitor the many leave laws being passed around the country and specialize in understanding how they work together. For leave management and accommodation assistance, contact us at ping@matrixcos.com.

New York Paid Family Leave – Proposed Regulations Announced

Posted on: March 2, 2017 0

By Marti Cardi, VP-Product Compliance

The New York Paid Family Leave act goes into effect on January 1, 2018.  This law provides both job protection similar to the FMLA, and also provides a pay benefit to employees during covered leaves of absence.  Now, New York Governor Cuomo has announced that the proposed regulations in support of the law have been published in the State Register and are open for public comment for 45 days.  Links to the text of the proposed regulations and related materials can be found on the New York State website here.

The law phases in from 2018 through 2021.  Job-protected leave starts at 8 weeks per 12-month period and increases to 12 weeks; pay benefits start at 50% and increase to 67% in 2021.  Leave is available to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, and tend to matters due to the active duty military deployment of a family member.    A more detailed review of the law’s provisions is available on our prior Matrix Radar blog post here and in the state’s announcement of the proposed regulations.

The state has also created a new helpline (844) 337-6303 and a new website to answer questions and provide more information about the paid leave program.

Part of a Trend

Three other states – California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island –  also have state programs for paid family leave, and Washington, D.C., has passed such a program to go into effect in 2020 (subject to review by the U.S. House and Senate).  These states and also Hawaii, New York, and Puerto Rico offer separate programs for disability insurance for an employee’s own health condition.

But that’s not all!  As of February 28, the following 10 states have also introduced legislation for paid family leave:  Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia (died in committee within 3 weeks of proposal – that was quick!).  Some of these also include pay benefits for leave due to the employee’s own health condition.  In addition, the state of Washington passed paid family leave legislation in 2007 but it never went into effect due to lack of funding.  Washington has introduced new bills this year to provide that funding and implement its paid leave law.

Matrix and Reliance Standard Can Help!

At Matrix we have been waiting for this development. We will closely review the proposed regulations, inform our clients, business partners, and readers of any significant provisions, and submit comments to the state if appropriate. We’ll do the same when the regulations – as is or revised – become final.

In the meantime, Matrix’s compliance and product leaders are guiding a team with representatives from all affected functional areas in preparing to administer the job-protected leave provisions of the law effective January 1, 2018.  Our sister company, Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, has likewise assembled a team of representatives from all functional areas to design the product offering.  In order to be ready by the effective date, Reliance Standard has already created system requirements and is preparing to start development.

If you have questions or want more information, contact us at ping@matrixcos.com or salesandmarketingHQ@rsli.com.

1, 2, 3, Leave!  California, San Francisco, and New York State Pass New or Increased Paid Family Leave Benefits

Posted on: April 12, 2016 1

BindersBy Marti Cardi, VP-Product Compliance & Gail Cohen, Director, Compliance & Employment Law

As the federal government dithers, states and municipalities continue to be proactive in passing paid family leave laws (PFLs). Read on for information about the laws passed by the latest members of the club, San Francisco and New York State.  In addition, California has passed a law to increase the percentage of salary compensation available for paid family leave under the existing California law.  This article provides:

  • A short overview of each of the new laws (New York, California, San Francisco);
  • Pings for employers: What YOU need to do to get ready; and
  • Summaries of the key provisions of the New York and San Francisco laws;
  • How Matrix can help employers comply with these and other leave of absence laws, paid or unpaid.

There will likely be regulatory updates as the various state and municipal agencies provide further guidance to employers on how to comply with these new laws.  Matrix will keep you up to date as we move toward each law’s effective date.

New York Paid Family Leave Overview
Effective January 1, 2018, New York employers will be required to provide paid family leave benefits to eligible employees.  This law was passed as part of the state’s 2016 budget and is another benefit available in addition to the state’s worker’s compensation and employee disability pay benefits. 

The New York paid family leave law (NY PFL) is one of the most progressive proposed or passed, providing up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid family leave after a phase-in period.  The law dovetails to a large extent with leave rights under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act but in some regards will provide more leave rights, which might result in greater leave time in a 12-month period than the 12 weeks provided separately by each law.

EXAMPLE:  NY PFL will be available to care for a domestic partner, grandchild, or grandparent, which is not available under the FMLA.  A New York employee who takes leave to care for one of these family members would still have his or her full entitlement to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for a different family member or another reason under the FMLA.

California Paid Family Leave Overview
On April 11 California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law increasing the pay benefit available to California employees for family leave from 55% to 60%, and as high as 70% for a new classification of low-income workers.

Effective January 1, 2018, the law also eliminates the current 7-day waiting period currently imposed prior to an employee’s eligibility to receive benefits.

California’s PFL program is funded by worker contributions and is administered by the state’s Employment Development Department, which also administers the state’s short term disability benefits. Reports indicate that EDD has enough in savings from workers’ contributions to cover the additional benefits that will commence in 2018.

Other material aspects of the existing CA PFL remain unchanged at this point.

San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Overview
San Francisco recently took paid family leave benefits to a new level, providing an increase in salary replacement benefits to eligible San Francisco employees who take leave for a newborn or newly adopted or foster child (San Francisco Paid Parental Leave – SF PPL).  Unlike the state programs in California and New York, the new San Francisco ordinance does not cover leave taken to care for an ill or injured family member.

As summarized above, California already has paid family leave benefits (CA PFL), under which employees can receive up to 55% of their wages for six weeks for this bonding time.  This amount will increase to 60-70% as of January 1, 2018.  The San Francisco ordinance will enable SF employees to receive full 100% salary replacement during such leave.  The new ordinance goes into effect on January 1, 2017.

The San Francisco ordinance has some provisions that provide additional rights to California employees.

New York State Paid Family Leave – Key Provisions

QUESTION ANSWER
Who is an Eligible Employee? An employee who has worked for 26 or more consecutive weeks.
For what reasons can family leave be taken? a)      To participate in providing care, including physical or psychological care, for a family member of the employee made necessary by a serious health condition (as defined by the FMLA) of the family member; or
b)      To bond with the employee’s child during the first 12 months after the child’s birth or  placement of the child for adoption or foster care with the employee; or
c)       Because of any military “qualifying exigency,” as defined by the federal FMLA.
Who is a “Family Member?” a)      Child (biological, adopted or foster step, legal ward), child of a domestic partner, or a person to whom the employee stands in loco parentis;
b)      Parent (biological, foster, adoptive, in law, step, legal guardian), or other person who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a child;
c)       Grandparent (biological only);
d)      Grandchild (biological only);
e)      Spouse; or
f)       Domestic Partner
Can I require certification of need for leave before granting my employee’s request to take it? Yes. The certification is more limited than what is permitted under the FMLA.  A statement of proof of need for leave is sufficient, including a statement of disability by the family care recipient’s healthcare provider.
Can I deny leave if my employee doesn’t timely provide me with that medical certification? No, but if the employee fails to furnish proof within the time or manner requested by the employer, no benefits are required to be paid for the 2 weeks prior to the date on which the required proof is furnished.
Do I as an employer have to pay for these benefits? No. These benefits are funded by employee contributions (1 ½% of employee’s weekly wages, not to exceed 60 cents/week) through payroll deductions.
How much leave can my employee take? The amount of leave an employee can take increases over time, as follows:

1/1/2018     8 weeks
1/1/2019    10 weeks
1/1/2020    10 weeks
1/1/2021   12 weeks

Is the paid leave benefit a complete wage replacement? No.  As with the amount of leave to be made available, the amount of paid benefits increase annually as follows:

1/1/2018     50% of the avg. weekly wage
1/1/2019     55% of the avg. weekly wage
1/1/2020     60% of the avg. weekly wage
1/1/2021     67% of the avg. weekly wage

Can the employee also take PTO or other sick leave benefits to enable them to maintain 100% of his salary while on leave? The employer can choose to allow employees to take vacation, sick or other benefits while on leave, but may not require them to do so.  However, if an employee uses vacation or other paid time, the employer can request reimbursement for any NY PFL benefits received during that time.
Can I run this leave concurrently with my employee’s right to take 12 weeks of leave under the federal FMLA? Yes, if the leave reason is covered under both laws.
Can this leave be taken intermittently? Yes, and successive periods of family leave caused by the same or a related injury or illness count as a single period if separated by less than 3 months.
Is there a “waiting period” before paid benefits are payable? No.  Unlike typical disability payments, which have waiting or elimination periods, benefits are payable on the first full day family leave is required.
Are there any exclusions? Yes, there are several enumerated exclusions, including for any disability or family leave commencing prior to the employee’s eligibility for NY PFL.
Are there any employer notice requirements? Yes. Employers will be required to post notice of employee rights to this leave, in the prescribed form.

In addition, employers must give a written statement of rights to the employee within 5 business days of receiving notice that the employee’s absence of 7 consecutive days is due to family leave.

Is the NY PFL a job protected leave? Yes.  Like the federal FMLA, employees are entitled to be restored to the same or a comparable position when they return to work following a NY PFL.
Do I have to maintain health insurance benefits coverage while the employee is on NY PFL? Yes.
Does the employee have a right to file a claim for retaliation for exercising his or her right to take or request NY PFL? Yes.

San Francisco Paid Parental Leave – Key Provisions

QUESTION ANSWER
Who is an eligible employee? A full-time, part-time, or temporary employee who:

a)      Has worked at least 180 days and works at least 8 hours per week; and
b)      Is otherwise eligible under CPFL for baby bonding leave; and
c)       Works at least 40% of his/her work hours in San Francisco.

How much do I have to pay as employer? Employers must pay benefits which, together with CA PFL benefits received by the employee,  will provide the employee 100% wage replacement during the leave (referred to in the ordinance as “Supplemental Compensation”).
Can I require the employee to use accrued, unused vacation time before using paid leave? Yes, the employer can require the employee to use up to 2 weeks of accrued unused vacation time prior to receiving SF PPL, thereby capping the employer’s obligation to 4 of the 6 weeks the employee takes paid parental leave
Does the employee have any reimbursement obligations if he or she doesn’t remain employed after returning from leave? Yes. Prior to receiving SF PPL, the employee is required to sign a form agreeing to reimburse the employer for the full benefit amount if he or she voluntarily terminates employment within 90 days of returning from leave (requires employer to explicitly request reimbursement in writing).
Are there any employer posting requirements? Yes.  Employers are required to post a notice of SF PPL rights to employees in the OLSE prescribed form.
What are the record retention requirements? Employers must retain records of their compliance with this ordinance for 3 years.
In addition to leave rights, does SF PPL grant any other employee protections? Yes.  The law protects employees from any adverse action in connection with, or retaliation for, their exercise of leave rights.
Does the ordinance provide employees with a private right of action? Yes, but primary authority for enforcement, including auditing of compliance, rests with the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE).  In addition, employees must exhaust their administrative remedies by filing a complaint with OLSE prior to filing a private lawsuit.
What are the possible penalties for violations? The law provides for potential treble damages for any unpaid Supplemental Compensation, as well as other administrative penalties.

PINGPings for employers:  Prepare in advance!  If you have employees in New York state or San Francisco, make sure you have adopted policies to comply with the two new laws (effective January 1, 2018, and January  1, 2017, respectively);

Have your payroll personnel start working on the necessary steps to administer the new NY PFL and the increased benefit for CA PFL, including the requisite payroll deductions; and SF PPL, including making the correct pay benefits when an employee is on leave.

Finally, plan for costs associated with administering the laws and covering increased employee absences.  In San Francisco, this will include budgeting for the employer’s responsibility for pay benefits during leave, up to 100%.

MATRIX CAN HELP!  Matrix Absence Management provides leave, disability, and accommodation management services to employers seeking a comprehensive and compliant solution to these complex employer obligations. At Matrix we monitor the many state and municipal paid family and sick leave laws being passed around the country and will post updates in this blog as this area of employee benefits progresses.  In addition, our clients receive Matrix’s monthly Legislative Update, which pulls together these and other leave law developments in a concise and timely format.  With the passage of each new leave law – paid or unpaid – Matrix assesses employer needs and industry demands to determine whether administration of the new law should be added to Matrix’s suite of services.

Contact Matrix at 1-800-866-2301 to learn more about our services for complete management of leaves of absence, disability plans (state and private), and ADA accommodations, including leave.

NEW!  San Francisco Issues Draft Rules for Paid Parental Leave

Posted on: November 23, 2016 1

By Marti Cardi, VP-Product Compliance

untitled-1For those readers who do not have California employees, I have 2 things to say:  First, lucky you!  Second, hang in there with me – I promise some non-California blog posts in the near future. 

Late on Friday, November 18, the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) posted draft Rules to support the Paid Parental Leave ordinance (SF PPL) effective January 1, 2017.

OLSE is taking comments on the proposed Rules until 5:00 p.m. PST Friday, December 2, 2016, and will hold a public hearing on December 2.  Details and copies of the ordinance, an amendment, and the draft Rules are available on the OLSE website: http://sfgov.org/olse/paid-parental-leave-ordinance.  We at Matrix will be listening for further developments.

Here are a few of the highlights from the draft Rules:

  • An explanation of how prior employment with a covered employer counts toward the 180-day eligibility requirement (Rule 1)
  • How to count employees to determine whether the employer is a “covered employer” (it can be complicated!) (Rule 2)
  • How to calculate an employee’s SF PPL entitlement when the employee becomes eligible during a parental leave (Rule 3)
  • The relationship between CA PFL and SF PPL, and what documents or information the employer can require to ascertain the employee’s CA PFL coverage (Rules 4 and 5)
  • SF PPL calculation for tipped employees (Rule 6)
  • Ability to use SF PPL intermittently, and how to calculate the employee’s intermittent pay benefit (Rule 7)
  • Employer appeal and hearing procedures (Rule 8)

Still unanswered: 

  • Forms and the notice required by the ordinance are mentioned in the proposed Rules but are not yet available.
  • There is no explanation of the interaction or overlap in the employer’s ability to require employees to use 2 weeks of vacation pay for CA PFL and/or SF PPL purposes.
  • Can the employer apply accrued but unused PTO toward PPL obligation – or only time off designated as “vacation” as stated in the ordinance?
  • What is the statute of limitations for employee to bring a civil action against employer for PPL violations?
  • If an employee is continuing health and other benefits during parental leave, can the employer withhold the employee’s share of premium payments from the PPL Supplemental Compensation?  How about other voluntary deductions authorized by the employee (e.g., 401(k), loan repayment, voluntary life insurance buy-up . . . )?

As a refresher, the SF PPL is available for leave taken to bond with a new child.  It applies to employers with total employees in any location as follows (Covered Employers):

  • 50 or more employees: January 1, 2017
  • 35 or more employees: July 1, 2017
  • 20 or more employees: January 1, 2018

Eligible employees must meet 5 eligibility requirements:

  1. Work for a Covered Employer
  2. Has worked for the employer for at least 180 days prior to start of leave
  3. Works at least 8 hours  per week within San Francisco
  4. Works at least 40% of employee’s total hours within San Francisco
  5. Is eligible for and receiving paid family leave from California for bonding

The employer’s obligation is to top off paid family leave benefits the employee is receiving from the state of California to 100% of the employee’s regular compensation, subject to a cap.   The benefit is paid fully by the employer with no contribution or payroll deduction from employees.

More details about the SF PPL ordinance are available in our prior blog post here.

UPDATE (January 23, 2017) 

The City of San Francisco has finalized the Paid Parental Leave ordinance, rules, and related documents.  Here is the PPL website, where you can access the documents described below.

  • Paid Parental Leave Ordinance, as passed on April 12, 2016.
  • Technical amendment to the Paid Parental Leave Ordinance passed on September 6, 2016.
  • Paid Parental Leave Ordinance Poster – Covered Employers must post the required Paid Parental Leave Ordinance Poster at every work place and job site. The poster should be printed on 8.5″ x 14″ paper.
  • SF Paid Parental Leave Ordinance RulesRules Implementing the Paid Parental Leave Ordinance on December 23, 2016 (with a technical amendment December 29, 2016).
  • SF Paid Parental Leave Form – posted December 23, 2016. Covered Employers must provide the SF Paid Parental Leave Form to employees in San Francisco, and employees must complete the form to receive Supplemental Compensation.
  • Calculation Instructions– Step-by-step instructions on calculating the amount of Supplemental Compensation a Covered Employer must pay to a Covered Employee.   Several different pay scenarios are included.

_________________________________________

MATRIX CAN HELP!  Matrix Absence Management provides leave, disability, and accommodation management services to employers seeking a comprehensive and compliant solution to these complex employer obligations. At Matrix we monitor the many state and municipal family and sick leave laws being passed around the country and specialize in understanding how they work together. For leave management and accommodation assistance, contact us at ping@matrixcos.com.