Matt Miller on Paid Family Leave Act

Partner, Matt Miller, speaks with Business First reporter, Allissa Kline, about the different circumstances which employees are eligible for Paid Family Leave.

Under what circumstances could employees apply for PFL?

There are three categories:

1.  To bond with a child during the first 12 months after birth or placement. That includes cases of adoption or foster care.

2.  To care for a close relative with a serious health condition. A close relative includes a child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, grandparent or grandchild.

3.  To assist family members who are deployed or called for active duty.

Matt Miller is chair of labor and employment law at Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham LLC in Buffalo. He’s been answering client questions about paid family law for the past several months.

“PFL provides people with some economic security for these particular circumstances,” Miller said. “One thing to remember with Paid Family Leave is that it’s not for one’s own condition. It’s for someone else’s condition.”

Sounds like employers have a lot to think about. What should they have in place before this law takes effect?

First, make sure you have coverage in place, through a rider or standalone policy, Grasso said. Then make sure you post the required notices from the Worker’s Compensation Board, he said.

Employers should also add language to their employee handbooks that explains Paid Family Leave and addresses how PFL will be integrated with the company’s existing leave policies. According to Miller, employers should notify eligible employees that their time off is designated as leave under both FMLA and paid family leave and provide those employees with FMLA notice and certification. If an employer doesn’t provide notice, Paid Family Leave does not have to run concurrently with FMLA leave – which means that some employees would be able to take as many as 20 weeks of leave in 2018.

Grasso emphasized that all private-sector employers – even those with just one employee – must provide Paid Family Leave.

“There is no size limitation on this, so if you have one employee who qualifies, that person is eligible and there is no hardship exemption,” Grasso said.

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