As the countdown to the January 1st effective date of New York’s new Paid Family Leave law wound down, we fielded some great client questions we thought would be useful to our readers. Here they are.

What if an employee begins taking PFL on December 26, 2018 and continues into 2019? Is he entitled to 8 weeks only or more than 8 weeks?
Beginning January 1, 2019, the employee becomes eligible for 10 weeks of PFL.

If two employees request PFL to care for the same person, may they both take leave?
They’re both entitled to leave; however, if they work for the same employer, the employer isn’t required to give both employees leave at the same time.

We know under FMLA employers can require an employee to use accrued paid time off while he’s on FMLA. Can employers do the same for PFL? What happens when FMLA and PFL run concurrently?
An employer can’t force an employee to use accrued paid time off while the employee is on PFL. But, if PFL runs concurrently with FMLA (i.e., the employee is eligible for both), then the employer may require the employee to use his accrued paid time off.

Can an employee take PFL to care for a sick brother or sister?
Generally, employees aren’t eligible to take PFL to care for siblings.

If PFL isn’t provided for in the collective bargaining agreement, are the organized employees still eligible for PFL?
Yes. Unionized employees can’t contract for less than their PFL rights afforded by NY law.

Do businesses need to provide PFL to independent contractors?
No. PFL applies only to W-2 employees. Remember to ensure you’ve made a correct assessment about whether an individual is viewed as an independent contractor or employee by the Labor Department.

Who makes the decision about whether an employee is eligible for PFL?
In New York, this determination will be made by the employer’s PFL insurance carrier.

FMLA allows employers to require employees to take leave to bond with a child in one continuous block. Can an employer require its employee in similar circumstances to take the leave in one continuous block?
This will be a challenge for New York employers. Employees are permitted to take PFL to bond with a child in increments of as short as one day.