3 Updates to the New York Paid Family Leave Law

As we move closer to 2018, the regulations on the New York State Paid Family Leave Law will continue to be communicated from the state.  On June 1, 2017, the state released the maximum employee contributions.  This will be the average deduction that will be taken out of the employee’s paycheck.

Below are the 3 updates:

  1. Clarification on the payroll deductions and employer portions. This clarification is not new.  However, I have been asked about the employer portion many times.  The paid family leave “is intended to be funded entirely through employee payroll deductions and employers are not required to fund any portion of this benefit.”[i]
  2. The maximum employee contribution was set at 0.126% on June 1, 2017, of an employee’s weekly wage, up to and not to exceed 0.126% of the NY statewide average weekly wage. The current statewide wage is $1,305.92.  “So, for example, if an employee’s weekly wage amounts to $1,000.00, the maximum payroll deduction for PFL would be $1.26 for that week.”[ii]  If any employee makes more than $1,305.92, the weekly amount will be capped at $1.65.  Multiply the 0.126% by the wage to calculate the deduction.
  3. The statewide average weekly wage is calculated annually on March 31st and will be based on the previous calendar year’s average weekly wage. As wages increase across the state, so will the paid family leave contribution deductions, out of the employee’s paycheck.        

As new information is released, I will send a breakdown of the regulations.  Now is the time to begin reviewing, drafting, updating and revising policies and procedures related to FMLA and Paid Family Leave.  January 1, 2018 is only six short months away.  If you are confused, ask questions and do not assume.  This law is very complex, it continues to change as new regulations are slowly released.

New York State Paid Family Leave Website

Premium Rate for Family Leave Maximum Employee Benefit Contribution Website


Reminder of Previous Information: 



Want to learn more? Check out the upcoming trainings I will be conducting at Elmira College, Corning Community College (CCC), 24/7 Compliance and Compliance Online  in July & August:

Elmira College: SHRM Certification Exam Prep Course- September through November

Upcoming Corning Community College Training’s

247 Compliance: Performance of Dashboard Using KPIs and Designing



– Matthew Burr, HR Consultant


[i] https://www.bsk.com/media-center/3723-labor-employment-new-york-sets-maximum-employee-contribution-paid-family


[ii] https://www.bsk.com/media-center/3723-labor-employment-new-york-sets-maximum-employee-contribution-paid-family


[iii] Guardian PPT Training Slides

Open Enrollment Success Tips

As most organizations are now approaching the open enrollment season, we need to be cognizant of confusing and frustrating open enrollment processes.  A poll “was conducted in April among 2,105 employees currently receiving health care through their employer. Among those whose company offers health insurance:  Half of employees (49 percent) say making health insurance decisions is always “very stressful” for them.  41 percent feel the open enrollment process at their company is “extremely confusing.  20 percent often regret the benefits choices they make.”[1]

As leaders we need to educate our employees on making the right choice for themselves and their family.  Healthcare enrollment can be a confusing process for any employee, education and communication are crucial to ensure a successful open enrollment season.  None of our organizations want to be a statistic as mentioned above.

Below are 7 open enrollment tips to assist your organization in a successful open enrollment season:


  1. Develop a roadmap from start to finish for the open enrollment outcomes. This should include what you want covered by the plans and how you want to get there.  Do you want 100% participation in open enrollment?  Are you analyzing the data every day?
  2. Keep it simple. Do not assume that every person that works for you has a thorough understanding of how open enrollment works or what to choose during the open enrollment process.  Use examples that everyone can understand. Benefit enrollment is complex enough; do not make it more complex.
  3. Develop a training for the open enrollment process. Everyone learns differently, so try to develop a training system that encompasses all aspects of different learning styles.  Presenting/lecturing on benefits for 2-hours would be a challenge for me (or anyone else!) to sit through.
  4. Design checklists and handouts. Develop checklists or cheat sheets for employees to use during the process.  Handout the packet of information during the training.  Material should be basic and easily readable for a variety of literacy levels.
  5. Offer family sessions. Offer enrollment sessions that include a spouse or significant other. This can relieve some anxiety and allow for better decision making by employees for their family’s needs.
  6. Determine Frequently Asked Questions. Design a frequently asked questions handout or implement into the training.   I have found this to work well in the past.
  7. Open enrollment office hours and follow-up meetings. Establish 30-minutes to 1-hour every other day or daily dedicated to open enrollment and open enrollment questions.  If employees need to enroll online, assist them with this process during these time slots.  Follow-up throughout the process to ensure you reach the pre-established goal for the organization.


Open enrollment timing and processes vary by organization.  At times, this process can be confusing and frustrating to your employees.  Proactive planning and simplification wherever possible will help to ensure a successful open enrollment season.  If you have a third party or consultant scheduled to work through the open enrollment process, walk through the training with them.  Human Resources needs to understand what information is being communicated and how it will be communicated.  Ask employees before the process begins if they have any questions or concerns.  As the cost of healthcare and other benefits continues to rise, as does the complexities of the laws and regulations.  Seek guidance or help if you are unclear on the right approach.



– Matthew Burr, HR Consultant

[1] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/open-enroll-benefits-confusion.aspx