On April 3, 2020, the New York State passed a new paid sick leave policy as part of the 2020-2021 state’s budget. This policy which took effect onSeptember 30, 2020, provides for varying amounts of sick leave depending on the employer’s size and net income. Besides, the employee can resume their job position and earn similar pay and employment conditions after the sick leave.
However, there is confusion between the NYS paid sick leave and the NYS paid family leave(PFL), formally rolled out in 2018. The paid family leave allows qualified individuals to take paid time off to bond with a newly born child, care for a relative with a serious health condition or help a dependent preparing for an active military service deployment.
In this post, we’ll look at the general differences between the two leave policies.
The NYS paid sick leave covers eligible employees, together with their dependents.
The NYS Paid leave covers the dependents of the employees and not the employees themselves. It aims to allow the employee to take care of the newborn child, a relative with a serious illness, or prepare a dependent deployed abroad for military service.
2. Application Requirements
Employees do not have to apply to use sick leave.
Employees have to apply to use PFL.
3. When to Use It?
Employees can start using the paid sick leave immediately after accruing their first hour. Therefore, where an employer uses the accrual method, an employee can use their first hour of sick leave after 30 hours of work. On the other hand, an employee can use all the sick leave for the year in a single lump sum if an employer uses the front-loading method.
Currently, eligible employees can take a maximum of 12 weeks (effective January 1, 2021) of paid family leave for every 12-month period if they have been in employment for:
- 26 consecutive weeks (employees who regularly work for a minimum of 20 hours per week, or
- 175 total days (employees working for less than 20 hours per week)
The 12-month period begins after the employee’s approval for PFL.
4. How is it earned?
- Accrual Method
The employee accrues the unpaid or paid sick time over time where they earn an hour of unpaid/paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work.
- Front-Load Method
An employer may decide to pay the employee’s sick leave time for the current year all at once, as from January 1, 2021.
During the 12 month period, the total amount of usable sick leave differs as follows:
- Unpaid sick leave of 40 hours
Employers with a Maximum of 4 employees and earned a maximum of $1 Million in the past tax year.
- Paid sick leave of 40 hours
Employers with a maximum of 4 employees and earned a maximum of $1 Million in the past tax year.
- Paid sick leave of 40 hours
Employers with 5-99 employees irrespective of the earning
- Paid sick leave of 56 hours
Employers with 100 or more employees irrespective of the earning
The NYS Paid family leave is an insurance that employers must obtain and either fund or pass the cost of funding to employees.
The deductions begin from the date of hiring and appear on the employee’s regular paychecks. However, the employee will have to meet the required criteria to take advantage of the leave.
The deductions do not appear on the employee’s paycheck, but they still have to meet the required criteria.
5. Who Pays Out the Benefits?
It is the employers who manage and pays out NYS paid sick leave.
The insurance carrier that handles NYS paid family leave is responsible for paying out PFL all PFL claims.
6. Roll Over
Unused sick leave can roll over to the next year. However, employers can restrict usage to 40 or 56 hours per year based on the employer size.
Unused paid family leave time cannot be rolled over, meaning an employee will lose any leftover once the 12-month period elapses.
Unlike the NYS paid family leave policy that formally rolled out some about two years back, the NYS paid sick leave is less than a year since it took effect. However, employers must be ready to comply with the new policy; otherwise, failure to provide PSL according to the law may lead to penalties.
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