Paid Family Leave -
Frequently Asked Questions for State Employees
When will Paid Family Leave benefits be available for New York State employees?
The Paid Family Leave benefit will be available beginning January 1, 2018 for New York State Management/Confidential (M/C) employees in Bargaining Units 06, 18, 46, and 66. State employees in the Executive Branch who are represented by a union will have access to Paid Family Leave upon an agreement to provide the benefit between the State and their respective union.
How much will you receive in benefits?
Benefits phase in over four years. During 2018, you can take up to eight weeks of Paid Family Leave and receive 50% of your average weekly wage (AWW), capped at 50% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW). Your AWW is the average of your last eight weeks of pay prior to starting Paid Family Leave. The SAWW is updated annually.
Benefits increase through 2021:
*AWW -- Average Weekly Wage
**SAWW -- New York State Average Weekly Wage
How much do I pay for Paid Family Leave benefits?
You pay for these benefits through a small weekly payroll deduction, which is a percentage of your weekly wage up to a cap set annually.
The 2018 payroll contribution is 0.126% of your weekly wage and is capped at an annual maximum of $85.56. If you earn less than the New York State Average Weekly Wage ($1,305.92 per week), you will have an annual contribution amount less than the cap of $85.56, consistent with your actual weekly wages. For example, in 2018, if you earn $27,000 a year ($519 a week), you will pay 65 cents per week.
To estimate your deduction, use the payroll deduction calculator: Weekly Payroll Deduction Calculator.
Why did my deduction change?
The amount you will pay for Paid Family Leave coverage this year has not changed, this is just a change in how your contributions are collected. Previously, payroll deductions were capped on a weekly basis. Under the new methodology, employees will make payroll deductions equal to 0.126% of their total weekly wage until they reach their annual maximum of $85.56. After reaching your annual maximum, you will not make any PFL contributions for the remainder of the calendar year.
When will deductions for the Paid Family Leave benefit begin?
For M/C employees, payroll deductions will begin in paychecks dated January 4, 2018 for employees on the Institution payroll and January 10, 2018 for employees on the Administration payroll.
Newly hired employees will have deductions for Paid Family Leave taken out of their first paycheck. If you are not expected to become eligible for Paid Family Leave, you may opt out of the benefit by submitting a Paid Family Leave Waiver (see eligibility section).
How are employees paid while out on Paid Family Leave?
Employees out on Paid Family Leave will not receive a paycheck from New York State. Rather, they will receive payment directly from MetLife once their request is processed and MetLife confirms that leave was taken.
M/C employees may receive Paid Family Leave benefits from MetLife either by check or direct deposit. Employees wishing to receive payment through direct deposit must complete and submit an Electronic Funds Transfer Form to MetLife.
Is the Paid Family Leave benefit taxable?
Yes. Paid Family Leave benefits will be treated as taxable income.
Will Paid Family Leave premium contributions be taken on a pre-tax or post-tax basis?
Paid Family Leave premium contributions will be taken on a post-tax basis.
How to I report my paid family leave benefits on my taxes?
During the month of January following each calendar year in which you received PFL benefits, MetLife will send you an IRS Form 1099-MISC detailing income received under PFL for your records. MetLife will also file Form 1099-MISC with the IRS to report taxable income received under PFL by January 31st of the following year.
How can I withhold taxes from my Paid Family Leave benefits?
You can pay taxes on your Paid Family Leave benefits when you receive them to minimize or eliminate any taxes owed on those benefits at the end of the year.
- To withhold federal taxes:
- Complete an IRS Form W-4S (Request for Federal Income Tax Withholding From Sick Pay) and submit it to MetLife with your initial claim form.
- The Federal Form W-4S includes a worksheet to calculate the amount that should be withheld from each such pay payment. It also includes the current tax rate schedules to assist with the calculation.
- Complete a New York State Paid Family Leave (PFL) State Tax Withholding Request Form to MetLife with your initial claim form.
- Specify the dollar amount you would like withheld from each weekly benefit check. Questions concerning how much to withhold should be directed to a tax professional.
- Note: If you wish to withhold New York State taxes you must also withhold federal taxes.
Questions concerning how much to withhold should be directed to a tax professional. The Department of Civil Service cannot provide you with specific tax withholding advice. However, if you would like to minimize the amount of taxes you owe the IRS and New York State associated with PFL benefits, you may request that MetLife withhold 10 percent of your weekly benefit for federal taxes and 2.5 percent of your weekly benefit for state taxes. Please understand that your actual taxes owed may differ. See example below:
|Weekly PFL Benefit:||$500|
|Federal Tax Withholding:||$500 x 10% = $50.00|
|NYS State Tax Withholding:||$500 x 2.5% = $12.50|
What happens if I do not withhold taxes from my Paid Family Leave benefits?
Depending on your income, you may owe federal and New York State income taxes for the PFL benefits you received. If you do not withhold taxes from your PFL benefit, you will receive a copy of IRS Form 1099-MISC from MetLife detailing income received under PFL for your records, which also indicates that no federal or New York state taxes were withheld. MetLife will also file Form 1099-MISC with the IRS to report taxable income received under PFL.
Do I have to fill out tax withholding forms every time I apply for Paid Family Leave?
Yes, an employee must provide withholding instructions on each new claim if you would like taxes withheld. For example, if an employee files a claim and takes four weeks of Paid Family Leave in January, and files a subsequent claim and takes four weeks of Paid Family Leave in March, they would need to provide withholding instructions to MetLife for both claims.
If I am a part-time employee and I am eligible for Paid Family Leave benefits, how will my Paid Family Leave benefits be calculated?
Benefits will be based on the average of your part-time base salary, overtime pay, and any other applicable differentials, for the last eight weeks of your pay prior to starting Paid Family Leave.
Will all Executive Branch M/C employees have access to Paid Family Leave?
Yes. All Executive Branch M/C employees in Bargaining Units 06, 18, 46, and 66 will have access to the Paid Family Leave benefit.
However, if an employee does not expect to work for their employer for the minimum amount of time required for eligibility for Paid Family Leave — the employee does not expect to work a regular schedule of 20 or more hours per week for 26 consecutive weeks or does not expect to work less than 20 hours per week for 175 days, which do not need to be consecutive — the employee may opt out of Paid Family Leave. Please contact your State agency's human resources office for additional information.
Can I opt out?
You can opt out of Paid Family Leave if you do not expect to work for your employer for the minimum amount of time required for eligibility.
If you meet this criteria, your employer must offer you a Paid Family Leave waiver, which is available at ny.gov/PaidFamilyLeave.
If you are uncertain regarding your eligibility, please work with your State agency's human resources office to determine if you qualify for a waiver. The waiver form is also available on the Department of Civil Service webpage at www.cs.ny.gov/pfl. Employers should keep completed waivers on file.
If I qualify for a Paid Family Leave waiver, can it ever be revoked?
If a change in your schedule results in you working enough time to meet the eligibility requirements, your waiver will be automatically revoked. You may also voluntarily revoke your waiver at any time.
If your waiver is revoked, employers may begin taking payroll deductions and may retroactively collect deductions from the date you signed the waiver. If you have further questions about the waiver process, please contact your State agency's human resources office directly if your agency is not hosted by the Business Services Center (BSC). If your agency is hosted by the BSC, please contact the BSC Personnel Administration Unit at BSCPersonnelAdmin@ogs.ny.gov or (518) 457-4272.
Can I take Paid Family Leave if I am collecting workers' compensation?
It depends. If you are not working and are collecting workers' compensation, you may not use Paid Family Leave. If you are working on a reduced earnings schedule and are collecting workers' compensation, you may still be eligible for Paid Family Leave.
Can multiple employees take Paid Family Leave to care for the same family member simultaneously?
Yes. New York State and MetLife will not deny leave to family members caring for the same relative, including spouses caring for newborn children, regardless of whether they are employed by the same agency.
Who can I contact regarding eligibility questions about Paid Family Leave?
For questions on eligibility, you may contact your State agency's human resources office. If you are an agency hosted by the BSC, please contact the BSC Personnel Administration Unit at BSCPersonnelAdmin@ogs.ny.gov or (518) 457-4272.
In addition, you may also contact the Department of Civil Service Employee Benefits Division at (518) 549-2027 from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM or reach the Department via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I request Paid Family Leave?
Once you have notified your employer that you intend to take Paid Family Leave, please call MetLife at 1-800-300-4296 to begin the process to receive benefits.
MetLife will send you an Acknowledgement and Rights Package, which will include a request form, via mail within two days. It is your responsibility to complete this form. You must then request your agency's personnel administrator to fill out the employer section, which will be returned to you within three business days. If your State agency's human resources office is with the BSC, they will complete the employer section of the request form. You must then submit the completed request form, along with any required supporting documentation, to MetLife.
Alternatively, M/C employees can initiate the claim process by completing the appropriate request forms which can be found on the Department of Civil Service webpage at www.cs.ny.gov/pfl/.
For employees served by the BSC, you can email, fax, or mail the employer portion of the request form to the BSC. The BSC will not email the form back to a personal email address.
Fax: (518) 457-1879
BSC Personnel Administration
1220 Washington Ave Building 5, Floor 4
Albany, NY 12226-1900
For State employees represented by a union, additional details on how to apply for Paid Family Leave benefits will be made available as unions enter agreements with New York State to participate in Paid Family Leave.
How can I request intermittent Paid Family Leave?
The steps for requesting intermittent Paid Family Leave are the same as the steps above. You can make note of intermittent Paid Family Leave requests when completing your Paid Family Leave request form. The request form allows for the designation of a planned or estimated intermittent Paid Family Leave. You do not need to complete a request form for each day or short block of time that you request Paid Family Leave, if you indicate the dates you plan to take Paid Family Leave on the first form.
Even if you complete a form for intermittent Paid Family Leave and the request is approved, you must call MetLife at 1-800-300-4296 to confirm the days you are taking for Paid Family Leave as associated with the form. You will also need to confirm with your employer the time you are taking off for Paid Family Leave.
Is there a deadline to submit a request for Paid Family Leave?
Yes. You must submit a Paid Family Leave request to MetLife before your leave starts or within 30 days after the start of your leave.
Who is responsible for submitting the completed request form to MetLife?
The employee is ultimately responsible for submitting the completed request form to MetLife.
Once you submit your completed Paid Family Leave request, how long will it take before a determination is made?
MetLife must pay or deny your request within 18 calendar days of receiving your completed request.
What if the dates I am out on Paid Family Leave differ from the dates I estimated on the Paid Family Leave request form prior to taking leave?
When you are pre-filing, it is always your responsibility to confirm the dates you take off for Paid Family Leave with MetLife, even if you have correctly estimated the dates you intended to take for intermittent Paid Family Leave. If you take time for Paid Family Leave that is different than the time you estimated, MetLife will make the appropriate adjustments and determine how much more time you are eligible for Paid Family Leave benefits moving forward.
Who do I call with questions about my filed Paid Family Leave request?
Please call MetLife at 1-800-300-4296 Monday through Friday from 8am to 11pm EST with questions about your Paid Family Leave request.
Am I required to notify management that I will be taking Paid Family Leave?
Notifying your supervisor is not required to have a Paid Family Leave request approved.
However, employees should notify their supervisor as soon as possible if an unforeseen Paid Family Leave event occurs or 30 days in advance of a foreseeable Paid Family Leave event.
How does Paid Family Leave work with other attendance and leave benefits?
Under the Attendance Rules, you may choose to use other appropriate leave credits for those absences that would qualify for Paid Family Leave, instead of taking Paid Family Leave. However, you cannot receive Paid Family Leave benefits for the same day on which you charge an accrual. Time charged to leave accruals will not count against your Paid Family Leave benefit.
Can Paid Family Leave be used intermittently?
Yes. However, Paid Family Leave can only be used in full-day increments.
Can I use accruals to supplement Paid Family Leave?
No. You can charge leave accruals to cover an absence or you can submit a request to MetLife for Paid Family Leave. However, you cannot use both on the same day.
Will I continue to earn sick and vacation leave credits while out on Paid Family Leave?
- If you are a full-time State employee, you must be in full pay status for a minimum of seven out of ten days in a pay period to earn sick and vacation leave credits. If you are a part-time state employee, please contact your State agency's human resources office for additional information.
- If you are on Paid Family Leave for more than three days in a pay period, you will not earn sick or vacation time for that pay period.
Will my vacation anniversary date change if it falls on a day that I am taking Paid Family Leave?
Paid Family Leave is considered leave without pay for attendance and leave purposes. A vacation anniversary date will only change when you are off of the payroll for more than six months. Thus, no adjustment would be necessary unless your Paid Family Leave is taken immediately following another type of leave.
Will my personal leave anniversary date change if it falls on a day that I am taking Paid Family Leave?
Paid Family Leave is considered leave without pay for attendance and leave purposes. A personal leave anniversary date will only change when you are off the payroll on that date. Therefore, the date you return to the payroll will become your new personal leave anniversary date.
Does my time on Paid Family Leave count toward eligibility for longevity payments or performance advances?
Yes. Paid Family Leave will count toward your eligibility for these payments.
Will my time on Paid Family Leave count toward my service credit when calculating your pension?
No. Time on Paid Family Leave will not be counted toward your total service when calculating your pension upon retirement.
Will my time on Paid Family Leave count toward the minimum service requirement for retiree health insurance eligibility?
Yes. Paid Family Leave will count toward your 10-year service requirement for retiree health insurance eligibility.
How does Paid Family Leave impact my health insurance benefits?
You can keep your health insurance while on Paid Family Leave. If you contribute to the cost of your health insurance, you must continue to pay your employee portion of the cost while on leave.
How do I pay for health insurance benefits while on Paid Family Leave?
When possible, your health insurance deduction will continue to be taken from your paycheck. If the Department of Civil Service is unable to take deductions from your paycheck, you will be directly billed for your employee portion of the health insurance premium.
If you are directly billed for your health insurance coverage, you must make this payment to the Department of Civil Service to avoid a break in coverage. You are not eligible for pre-tax health insurance premium payments if you are direct billed.
Can I use the maximum time off for Paid Family Leave and continue my leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), after Paid Family Leave benefits have been exhausted?
Yes. If you exhaust your Paid Family Leave benefits but are still eligible for additional FMLA time, you may continue your leave under FMLA.
What if I use Paid Family Leave for an absence that is also covered by the FMLA?
If you are out on Paid Family Leave for a FMLA qualifying absence, the absence will count as both Paid Family Leave and FMLA.
Can I use benefits from the M/C Income Protection Plan and Paid Family Leave at the same time?
You may not receive benefits via the Income Protection Plan for an absence for which you have received Paid Family Leave. However, if you are eligible to receive both benefits, you may take your Income Protection Plan benefits and Paid Family Leave in sequence.
What if my Paid Family Leave request is denied?
If your Paid Family Leave request is denied, you may request to have the denial reviewed by a neutral arbitrator. MetLife will provide you with reason for denial and information about requesting arbitration.
If MetLife denies my request, will I still be allowed to charge accruals and continue eligibility under Paid Family Leave?
If your request is denied by MetLife, you will maintain your unexhausted Paid Family Leave benefit and may still be allowed to charge appropriate accruals.
What protections do I have under Paid Family Leave?
Your employer cannot discriminate or retaliate against you for requesting or taking Paid Family Leave. They must reinstate you to the same or a comparable position when you return from Paid Family Leave.
If you request or take Paid Family Leave and your employer:
- does not return you to your same or a comparable job,
- terminates your employment,
- reduces your pay or benefits, or
- disciplines you in any way,
please follow the steps outlined on the New York State website available at: https://www.ny.gov/new-york-state-paid-family-leave/paid-family-leave-information-employees
Can a supervisor deny an employee's approved request for Paid Family Leave due to a business need?
No. A supervisor cannot deny an employee's request for Paid Family Leave if the carrier approves the request for Paid Family Leave. However, a supervisor may ask the employee the reason for a requested absence to verify that it is for Paid Family Leave.
When an employee requests time off from work, do they have to tell their supervisor that the reason they are taking time from work is for Paid Family Leave?
No. Employees are only required to make a plain language request, such as stating they need to take time off to care for a sick family member. They do not need to use the words "Paid Family Leave."
When MetLife pays a Paid Family Leave request, will the supervisor be notified?
Not directly. The Department of Civil Service will notify agencies of approved and denied requests on a weekly report. It will be up to the employee to notify their supervisor when they require leave.
How will this be coordinated with LATS?
Specific LATS codes have been developed for supervisory use. The LATS codes are not accessible to all employees.