The start of autumn means cooler weather, falling leaves, and, for employers with New York employees, updates to the New York Paid Family Leave (“Paid Family Leave”) program.

The Paid Family Leave program provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected, partially-paid time off within a 52-week period to care for a family member with a serious health condition, bond with a newborn, or assist when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service. Since Paid Family Leave took effect in 2018, New York employers have seen several changes to the program, including increases in the amount of leave that employees may use and an expansion of the definition of “family member.”

More changes are in store for employers in 2024, with New York once again adjusting the employee benefit and contribution caps thereunder.

The Maximum Weekly Benefit Cap will Increase to $1,151.16 in 2024

Employees who use Paid Family Leave are entitled to benefits equal to the lesser of 67% of their average weekly wages or 67% of the current New York State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW). Beginning January 1, 2024, the SAWW will increase to $1,728.15. As a result, for Paid Family Leave taken in 2024, an employee’s weekly benefits rate will be capped at $1,151.16, which is $20.08 more than what is currently available under the 2023 benefits cap.

The Employee Annual Contribution Cap will Decrease to $333.25 in 2024

Employees fund the Paid Family Leave program through payroll deductions, which are calculated based on each employee’s gross wages per pay period. In 2024, the employee contribution rate will decrease from 0.455% to 0.373% of an employee’s gross wages per pay period. In addition, the employee annual contribution cap will decrease from $399.43 to $333.25 per year. Importantly, employees who earn less than the SAWW will continue to contribute less than the annual contribution cap.

To prepare for these 2024 updates, employers should act now to review and update their Paid Family Leave policies and payroll practices.

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