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Paid Family Leave ("PFL")

Colgate University strives to offer eligible employees leaves that will help them balance their work life and personal life.  The New York State Paid Family Leave Benefits Law (“PFL”) became effective on January 1, 2018 (https://www.ny.gov/programs/new-york-state-paid-family-leave). 

What is PFL?

PFL is a paid leave benefit designed to provide eligible employees with the ability to take up to twelve (12) weeks of paid family leave (once fully implemented) during a 52-week time period for certain qualifying reasons. The amount of benefits paid to an eligible employee are a percentage (%) of average weekly wages up to the state average weekly wage. PFL will be phased-in over four years as follows:

Year

Weeks Available
in 52-Week Period

Max % of Employee Average Weekly Wage, capped at the State Average Weekly Wage*

2018

8

50%

2019

10

55%

2020

10

60%

2021 (and beyond)

12

67%

*For 2018, the State Average Weekly Wage is $1,305.92.

What are the "qualifying reasons" for which PFL can be taken?

1.  Bonding: to bond following the birth, adoption, or placement of a new child; or
2.  Caring:  to care for a qualifying family member with a serious health condition; or for purposes of this provision, the term “family member” can include: spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild.
3.  Preparing: to prepare for a qualifying exigency arising from a family member’s military service. 
   -For purposes of this provision, the term “family member” shall include: spouse, domestic partner, child or parent of the employee who is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call to active duty) in the Armed Forces of the United States.
   -For purposes of this provision, the term “qualifying exigency” shall have the same meaning and interpretation under PFL as the term currently has under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Who is eligible to take PFL?

Under PFL, there are two (2) ways in which an individual can become an “eligible employee”:  
1. A full-time employee (who is regularly scheduled to work at least 20 hours per week) becomes eligible to apply for, and take, PFL once they have worked for the University for 26 consecutive work weeks; or 
2. A part-time employee (who is regularly scheduled to work less than 20 hours per week) is eligible to apply for, and take, PFL once they have worked for the University for 175 days.                                              
Note:  Time spent on paid vacation, sick and personal leaves will be counted towards the PFL eligibility criteria, provided deductions were taken during that paid time.  However, time spent on paid NYS disability leave or an unpaid leave of absence is not counted for establishing an employee’s eligibility under PFL. 
The New York PFL does not apply to those working in a teaching capacity.  [Teaching Faculty are eligible for leave as outlined in the Faculty Handbook.]    

How is PFL Funded?

PFL is an employee-funded benefit.  Eligible employees will receive partial pay while taking approved PFL through an insurance policy that will be funded by a small payroll deduction taken from employees paychecks on a post-tax basis.  The deduction amount is set in accordance with state law and will be readjusted annually.   
 
For 2018 (only), the deduction amount has been set at 0.126% of an employee’s weekly wage, capped at 0.126% of the state average weekly wage.  Based on the current annualized state average weekly wage, the maximum annual amount that can be deducted from an employee’s wages for 2018 is $85.56.  This amount is less for employees whose wages are lower than the current state average weekly wage ($1,305.92).  The amount of each deduction is reflected on each employee’s individual pay stub.   

Waiving Coverage under Paid Family Leave

New York State allows employees to waive coverage in Paid Family Leave if their work schedule permits ineligibility.  A voluntary waiver of payroll deductions is available for the employee to complete if they meet the following criteria.     

Employees may sign a waiver if:
1. They are regularly schedule to work 20 hours or more per week, but will not work 26 consecutive weeks (6 months) for Colgate University; or
2.  They are regularly scheduled to work less than 20 hours per week, but will not work 175 days in 52 consecutive weeks (a year) for Colgate University.

Employees must complete and return to the Human Resources Department the Employee Opt-Out of Paid Family Leave Benefits form to waive out of having the required premiums withheld from all Colgate University earnings. Employees who do not complete and return this form, will have the mandatory premium deductions from their paycheck.     

Note you may become eligible for PFL in the future and the waiver will be revoked if the employee's work schedule changes and it is anticipated that they work more than 20 hours per week for 6 months, or will work less than 20 hours per week, but at least 175 days in a 52 consecutive week period (1 year).         

How to Apply

Employees must compete the appropriate claim form and notify their supervisor at least 30 days in advance of the leave or as soon as possible for an unplanned event.  

Claim Forms:

Submit the completed form to Human Resources at benefits@colgate.edu or mail them to the Human Resources Department.  

Please contact Human Resources at (315) 228-7565 or benefits@colgate.edu with any questions.