New Paid Family Leave Benefit for Staff Effective Jan. 1

With a new law taking effect in 2018, Syracuse University is working to stay ahead of changes and ensure employees know and understand their benefits. Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, new benefits are available with the passage of the New York Paid Family Leave (NYPFL) law, providing paid leave for eligible staff members to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition or prepare for a family member’s call to active military service. Relevant information has been posted on the Human Resources website including a comprehensive FAQ about how Syracuse University is prepared to implement the new benefits.

Summary of the New Paid Family Leave Benefit:

Staff and student employees, including graduate assistants, working in New York State are eligible if they meet the following requirements:

  • If a regular work schedule is 20 or more hours per week, an employee is eligible after 26 consecutive weeks of employment.
  • If a regular work schedule is less than 20 hours per week, an employee is eligible after working 175 days.
  • New York’s legislation establishing Paid Family Leave does not apply to those working in a teaching capacity. Faculty continue to be eligible for leaves of absence and paid parental leave benefits, and may request administrative leave through their departments, as appropriate.“Syracuse University provides several kinds of leave to assist faculty, non-academic staff and other eligible employees in balancing the demands of the workplace with their personal needs,” says Andrew R. Gordon, senior vice president and chief human resources officer. “Our human resources team is prepared and ready to assist employees who may have questions to help them maximize their available benefits.”Under the new law employees are provided several benefits, including:
    • wage replacement for eight weeks of leave at 50 percent of pay (up to 50 percent of the state’s average weekly wage), increasing to 12 weeks and 67 percent pay in 2021;
    • job protection upon return from Paid Family Leave; and
    • continuation of health insurance while out on Paid Family Leave.

New York State specified that the Paid Family Leave Program is employee-funded, and that employers shall collect an employee contribution through a payroll deduction determined annually by the New York State Department of Financial Services. In 2018, the rate will be 0.126 percent of an employee’s average weekly wage, capped at $1.65 per week.

Resources and Training

  • Several upcoming information sessions are available. The state continues to clarify the regulations. Human Resources will continue to update the website as further information becomes available. Additional information can be found on the New York State Paid Family Leave website.

Timeline Moving Forward

  • New York’s timeline calls for a phased rollout over four years, with the benefit level starting at eight weeks, 50 percent pay in 2018 and reaching 12 weeks, 67 percent pay in 2021. Employees do not need to take any action to enroll in this coverage and the benefits will be available beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

Questions about Paid Family Leave