Tips to Prepare for Summer Paid Family Leave Claims

Topics: Disability Benefits Paid Family Leave

The summer months are full of outdoor activities, sporting events and family vacations. In additions, the summer months also bring an increase in paid family leave claims. This can create a hardship for employers when key roles are left open or partially covered by other employees. What can employers do to prepare for absences due to paid family leave?


Paid Family Leaves Claims Rise During the Summer Months

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Paid family leaves laws are a major step forward for advocating better leave options for employees, but employers can be faced with new staffing challenges. Knowing how paid family leave is taken can help agents prepare their clients for tracking time off, finding temporary coverage and ensuring compliance with the requirements.

AmTrust Financial looked at 2018 claim data for New York Paid Family Leave to see how claimants were taking their leave time. The findings showed that not all claimants are taking Paid Family Leave in one chunk of time; in the first half of the year about 60% of claimants took their leave intermittently and there was a 20% rise in paid family leave claims in May and June. Which means employers may have to be creative in how they cover work tasks, assignments and projects.

Intermittent leave days off can impact both employers and place an added burden on employees who remain in the office. Employers should develop a plan and process to fill in for employees on leave. This might mean cross-training employees to split duties and fill in for their co-workers. It could mean hiring additional help through a temp agency. You could also take advantage of today’s “gig economy” to find independent contractors who can complete the duties of employees on leave. It’s important, also, to check with your tax accountant to determine what constitutes a contractor versus a temporary employee.


Tips for Preparing for Summer Paid Family Leaves


Employers should also keep in mind the following tips for working with employees for using their paid family leave, especially in the vacation-heavy summer months:

Ask for Advance Notice: Advise employees to provide as much notice of leave as possible. Doing so will allow employers to plan for the absence and train others to cover the time the employee is away. The NY PFL regulations state that the employee has to follow the employer’s notice rules regarding leave. Unless unique circumstances prevent them from complying.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open: Discuss key projects with the employee and facilitate transition of responsibilities. This is vital for employees taking concurrent leave time.

 • Get Temporary Help: If an employee needs to take a paid family leave immediately, don’t hesitate to contact temp employment agencies to fill the role, especially in a productivity-focused role. Balance the cost of a temp hire vs the impact of business from a vacant role.

• Create a Return to Work Plan: Have a predetermined return to work plan toensure a smoother transition back to employment after a leave. Get them back up to speed: Prepare updates on their past projects, share organizational changes, and introduce them to current projects and business goals.

Employers need to remember, that paid family leave includes job protection, so they can’t necessarily replace the employee who are on leave unless there is comparable job available for them when they return.


Growth of Paid Family Leave Laws


Paid Family Leave (PFL) legislation is growing in popularity across the country. The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has been going strong for 25 years, but that legislation only allows for unpaid leave up to 12 weeks. PFL laws would give paid options for new parents or people who need to take care of sick family members. Currently, five states-California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York and Washington-plus the District of Columbia has paid family leave programs. However, according to the Society of Human Resources Managers (SHRM), 21 states are considering adding these laws in the next few years and there has been some discussion of a federal paid family leave law.


New York Paid Family Leave


New York has the nation’s strongest and comprehensive paid family leave law to date. New York requires that any private employer with one or more employees are required to obtain paid family leave insurance. The New York Paid Family Leave went into effect at the beginning of 2018. While the Federal Family Medical Leave Act protects employee’s jobs if they require time off, New York’s Paid Family Leave Law ensures an income to employees during these challenging times.

The law provides New York employees with job-protected paid leave to:

• Bond with a newborn, adopted or foster child
• Care for a loved one with a serious illness
• Tend to family matters when a loved one is called to active military service

New York Paid Family Leave is based on a rolling 52-week period as the program unfolds. During the first year of the program in 2018, participants could use up to eight weeks of time off. In 2019 and 2020, they can use 10 weeks and starting in 2021, people can take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. Paid Family Leave can be taken as a continuous leave or intermittently by taking time off in increments of as little as one day at a time. Bonding leaves can be taken up to a year after the date of birth, adoption or foster care and can be added taken back to back with a disability leave.


AmTrust Assists for Paid Family Leave Insurance


AmTrust is a leading statutory disability insurance provider, covering more than 45,000 employers in New York and New Jersey alone. For more information on who is eligible for Paid Family Leave, how to add it to your insurance coverage and advice for processing claims contact an AmTrust agent today.


This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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