New York Makes Paid Family Leave “Notice to Employees” Available

Posted on: November 14, 2017 2

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

Section 380-7.2.e. of the New York Paid Family Leave law requires employers to post a notice to employees of their rights under the law:

Every covered employer must display or post, and keep posted, a typewritten or printed notice concerning PFL in a form prescribed by the Chair.  The notice must be displayed in plain view where all employees and/or applicants can readily see it.

The state has now issued form PFL-120 for employers to use for this purpose.  It can  be obtained by sending an email to

For more information about New York Paid Family Leave, check out our previous blog posts:  October 2017,  October 2017, August 2017, July 2017, May 2017, March 2017, and April 2016.


New York Releases Application and Certification Forms for Paid Family Leave

Posted on: October 18, 2017 0

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

They’re out!  The long-awaited, much anticipated application and certification forms for New York Paid Family Leave (NY PFL) have been posted on the NY PFL website HERE!  I have reviewed the forms quickly but there is much to absorb and ponder.  Such as, how many claims management systems will be able to handle an employee’s choice to answer the gender question with the third option, “Not designated/Other”?

As a reminder, NY PFL goes into effect on January 1, 2018, to provide leave to eligible New York employees for three reasons:  to bond with a new child, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, and to attend to matters necessitated by a family member’s active military duty.  Leave starts at 8 weeks in 2018 and tops off at 12 weeks in 2021 and subsequent years.  Similarly, the pay benefit starts at 50% and caps at 67% in 2021.  The benefit is funded by employee payroll contributions.

Watch this blog for further analysis down the road.  In the meantime, we want to share some basics.  Here are the new forms that have been released, and a few notes:

Applying for Paid Family Leave.  New York has provided this “cover page” to accompany each certification form.  It gives very basic instructions on the steps the employee must take to apply for NY PFL for each of the three leave reasons.

Request for Paid Family Leave (Form PFL-1).  This form is not posted as a stand-alone document.  Rather, it accompanies each of the certification forms on the New York website, so no matter the reason for the employee’s leave, the request form is at the same link.  The form is 4 pages and also has 2 pages of instructions (PFL-1 Instructions), which should prove helpful in answering many employee questions about NY PFL and the process.

Bonding Certification (Form PFL-2).  This short form (again, with instructions) provides very helpful direction on the documentation required to support a request for bonding leave, categorized for the birth mother, other parent, foster parent, and adoptive parent.

Release of Personal Health Information Under The Paid Family Leave Law (Form PFL-3 – Release of PHI).  Designed to accompany an employee’s request for leave to care for a family member, this form may be helpful in obtaining the medical information necessary for managing this type of leave.  As an observation, however, Matrix has not had trouble getting FMLA certifications for care of a family member without such a release.

Health Care Provider Certification For Care Of Family Member With Serious health condition (Form PFL-4).  Unlike California and a few other states, New York allows the employer/carrier to obtain the diagnosis of the family member’s health condition.  The form requires the provider to identify his/her credentials and specialty.  The form is 2 pages and the instructions are 1 page.

Military Qualifying Event (Form PFL-5).   Not much to say about this simple form.  It requires the employee to identify for which of the 8 reasons the employee needs leave, and directs the employee to attach supporting documentation.  A companion form (PFL-5-T) is a template for supporting the leave request when other documentation is not available for leave to meet with a 3rd party.

Early Observations – Some Concerns.  As noted above, we have not completed our analysis of these newly released forms, but we have already spotted some potential challenge areas.  For example:

  • Neither the Request for Paid Family Leave (PFL-1) nor the certification form for caring for a family member (PFL-4)
    provides a definition of “serious health condition” In fact, the provider is never required to certify that the employee’s
    family member has a serious health condition.
  • Also, neither the employee nor the provider is required to identify what kind of “care” the employee will be providing
    to the family member. We at Matrix know from experience that many employee requests under the similar FMLA
    provision do not meet the requirement for taking this kind of job-protected leave – and now it will be
    paid. A challenge to verify proper usage, to say the least.
  • The forms refer to the employer’s insurance carrier, but some employers will be self-funded. This could create
    a problem in getting forms properly completed and the correct information provided to the correct party.
    For example, as written, the form for release of a family member’s health information (PFL-3) authorizes release
    to the insurance carrier, but not to the self-funded employer.  While this can be corrected by including the employer’s
    name instead of the carrier’s name, we question how many times this will be done correctly on the
    first go-round.  Can you say “delay”?

For more information about New York Paid Family Leave, check out our previous blog posts: October 2017, August 2017, July 2017, May 2017, March 2017, and April 2016.


Matrix is honing processes, training teams, and taking other steps to be ready to administer New York Paid Family Leave starting January 1, 2018.  This is a natural extension of our leave, disability, and accommodation management services for 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

New York Releases First Wave of Paid Family Leave Forms

Posted on: October 6, 2017 0

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


In something of a stealth move, the New York Workers’ Compensation Board has released three forms for employers’ use in administering and complying with the Paid Family Leave Law that provides benefits starting January 1, 2018.  Those of us who check the NY PFL website daily and are signed up for news feeds received no word, but had to learn of the new forms through back channels.  The released forms include the following:

Employee Paid Family Leave Opt-Out of Benefits (PFL-Waiver, 9-17)

If an employee does not expect to work long enough to qualify for Paid Family Leave (a seasonal worker, for example), the employee may opt out of Paid Family Leave by completing the Waiver of Benefits Form.  Eligibility requires 26 weeks of 20 or more hours per week, or 175 days of work averaging fewer than 20 hours per week, with a covered employer.

This form contains some interesting news.  The employee’s waiver can be revoked by the employee or automatically because the employee has or will work more than the time needed for eligibility.  Per the regulations, the employee then has the obligation to catch up on contributions that would have been made during the eligibility period but for the waiver, but the regulations do not specify how the employer can recoup these amounts.  The form appears to authorize additional deductions from the employee’s pay to catch up for missed contributions:

I also understand if this waiver is revoked (either by me or by a change in my work schedule), my employer may take retroactive deductions for the period of time I was covered by this waiver, and this period of time counts towards my eligibility for paid family leave.  [Emphasis added.]

Employer’s Application for Voluntary Coverage (No Employee Contribution) (PFL-135, 9-17)

Employers exempt from providing mandatory Paid Family Leave may provide voluntary Paid Family Leave by completing PFL-135 (if no employee contribution is required).

Employer’s Application for Voluntary Coverage (Employee Contribution Required) (PFL-136, 9-17)

Employers exempt from providing mandatory Paid Family Leave may provide voluntary Paid Family Leave by completing PFL-136 (if they will be requiring an employee contribution).

The NY PFL regulations also calls for forms for employee use to request NY PFL, and certifications to support leave taken to care for a family member with a serious health condition, for military exigencies, and to bond with a new child due to birth or placement for adoption or foster care.  Employers and insurance carriers still working to get ready for the January 1, 2018, effective date have been begging the WCB for these other forms, which will be critical in getting the information the employer is entitled to for consideration of leave requests.  Employers and carriers are permitted to use their own forms, but clearly it is safest and easiest to use NY-sanctioned forms, especially at the beginning of this uncharted leave law.

The new forms, and additional forms as they are released, can be found at this link:

For more information about New York Paid Family Leave, check out our previous blog posts: August 2017, July 2017, May 2017, March 2017, and April 2016.

Hat tip to Marjory Robertson who provided early information about the new forms in an industry NY PFL call group!


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:


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

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

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

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.