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New York Workers’ Compensation Board Releases Model Policy Language and Statement of Rights Regarding the New York Paid Family Leave Law

December 26, 2017

The New York Workers’ Compensation Board (“WCB”) recently released model policy language and a Statement of Rights regarding the New York Paid Family Leave Law (“PFL”), which takes effect on January 1, 2018. (See https://www.kmm.com/articles-493.html.) Copies of these materials are available on the WCB’s website, at: https://www.ny.gov/programs/new-york-state-paid-family-leave.

These materials are designed to assist employers with their compliance with the notice requirements in the PFL. Specifically, employers must:

1.  Update existing policies or provide written guidance to employees regarding the PFL.

a.  If a covered employer maintains written guidance for employees concerning employee benefits or leave rights, such as in an employee handbook, information concerning leave under PFL and employee obligations under PFL must be included in the handbook or other written guidance. The model policy language that the WCB has released will be helpful to employers in drafting their handbook policies. Please note, however, that employers must still tailor this model language to work together with their existing policies regarding leave and paid time off. This policy language is available at: https://www.ny.gov/sites/ny.gov/files/atoms/files/PFL_Employer_Lang_hb_v1.pdf.

b.  If a covered employer does not have written policies, manuals, or handbooks describing employee benefits and leave provisions, the employer must provide written guidance to each employee concerning all of the employee's rights and obligations under PFL, including information on how to file a claim for paid family leave. The Statement of Rights published by the WCB can be used to provide this notice. It can be accessed at: https://www.ny.gov/sites/ny.gov/files/atoms/files/1711-PFL-271SFormFill.pdf.

2.  Provide a PFL Statement of Rights to employees when they take PFL leave or take time off from work for a PFL qualifying event, but have not requested Paid Family Leave. This is the same form referenced in 1.b above.[1]

3.  Conspicuously post a Notice of Compliance with the PFL in the workplace. This notice confirms for employees that the employer has secured PFL insurance or WCB-approved self-insurance. Employers with PFL insurance will typically obtain this notice from their insurance carrier, and must display the form in a conspicuous location. 

Please do not hesitate to contact any of our attorneys if you have any questions regarding these notice requirements, the materials published by the WCB, or the steps that your company will need to take to comply with the PFL.

[1] The WCB advises on its PFL website that this notice must be provided each time an employee takes applicable leave, which is slightly broader than the requirement in the PFL statute. We recommend that employers follow the instruction on the WCB’s website, as it likely reflects the approach the WCB will take in enforcing this requirement.