Skidmore College Policies and Procedures
New York Paid Family Leave Policy and Procedure
Effective January 1, 2018, the College will provide its employees working in New York with paid leave benefits in accordance with the New York State Paid Family Leave Benefits Law. Paid Family Leave ("PFL") is designed to enable eligible employees to take time off from work to care for family members under the circumstances outlined below. Employees taking PFL will receive partial wage replacement through an insurance policy that is funded by post-tax employee payroll deductions (established annually in accordance with state law). Payroll deductions will begin on January 1, 2018, or the employee's first day of employment, whichever is later. Participation in the PFL deduction is mandatory for eligible employees working in New York, except for those individuals eligible for a waiver (explained below).
An employee regularly scheduled to work at least 20 hours per week is eligible to take PFL after he/she has been employed by the College for 26 weeks.
An employee regularly scheduled to work less than 20 hours per week is eligible to take PFL after working for the College for 175 days.
Student workers are eligible if they meet one of the above criteria. However, due to the limited nature of the employment relationship, they will not be subject to payroll deductions.
Pursuant to New York state law, faculty are not eligible for PFL and therefore not subject the payroll deduction.
Note: Time spent on paid absence, vacation, sick, personal leaves and paid holidays, will count towards an employee's eligibility determination, provided deductions were taken during that period of paid time off. However, time that an employee spends on New York State Disability Leave or unpaid leave will not be counted towards an employee's eligibility determination.
Eligible employees may apply to take PFL for the following qualifying reasons:
- Caring: To provide care for a child (regardless of age), parent (including parent-in-law),
grandparent, grandchild, spouse and/or domestic partner with a "serious health condition".
- "Providing care" includes: necessary physical care, emotional support, visitation, assistance in treatment, transportation, arranging for a change in care, assistance with essential daily living matters, and personal attendant services. During the leave, the employee must be in close physical proximity to the identified family member who is receiving care.
- "Serious health condition" means: an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental
condition that involves either in-patient care or continuing treatment (or supervision)
by a health care provider. Questions regarding the definition of "serious health condition"
should be directed to Human Resources.
- Note: Absent complications, the common cold, the flu, an earache, an upset stomach, a minor ulcer, a headache (other than a migraine), a routine dental procedure / orthodontia problem, a periodontal disease, etc. does not typically constitute a serious health condition.
- Bonding: To bond with a child following the child's birth, adoption or placement in foster
- In the case of adoption or placement, PFL may be taken prior to the adoption or placement if the employee's absence is necessary for the placement or adoption to proceed. PFL taken for these circumstances must be used within one year of the first day of leave, or within one year of the adoption/placement, whichever is earlier.
- In the case of the birth of a newborn child, PFL taken to bond with the child must be used within the first year following the child's birth.
- Preparing: To prepare for, or attend to, a qualifying exigency arising out of a family member's
- "Family member", as applied to this particular provision, shall include the employee's spouse, domestic partner, child or parent who is currently on active duty or has been notified of an impending call to active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States.
- "Qualifying exigency" shall have the same meaning and interpretation under PFL as the term is currently used under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"). Questions regarding the definition or application of "qualifying exigency" should be directed to Human Resources.
PFL is not available for the employee's own disability or serious health condition. Disability, FMLA or Unpaid Leave may be available in those circumstances. Please see the College's Short-Term Disability, FMLA and Unpaid Leave policies for additional information.
Note: PFL will run concurrently with leave under the FMLA where the reason for leave qualifies under both PFL and FMLA. In these cases, employees will be required to comply with all applicable employee requirements (e.g., application, certification, notice, etc.) under both policies. Accordingly, employees should also review and refer to the College's FMLA Policy. If an employee's need for leave qualifies under both PFL and FMLA, but the employee declines to apply for PFL benefits (despite being notified that the reason for leave is a PFL-qualifying reason), any leave taken by the employee for such reason will nevertheless be counted against the employee's PFL allotment.
Employees have the opportunity to waive PFL benefits under the following limited circumstances:
- The employee's regular work schedule is 20 or more hours per week, but the employee will not work for the College for 26 weeks.
- The employee's regular work schedule is less than 20 hours per week and the employee will not work for the College for 175 days during a consecutive 52-week period.
If an employee elects to waive PFL coverage, the College will not take PFL payroll deductions from that employee. However, if an employee elects to waive PFL coverage and his/her regular schedule changes such that he/she works for either 26 consecutive weeks or 175 days in a consecutive 52-week period, the employee's waiver will be automatically revoked under the law. When such a waiver is revoked, the College will notify the employee regarding his/her contribution obligations. Thereafter, the College may begin taking PFL payroll deductions from the employee, including any retroactive amounts from the employee's date of hire or the amount necessary to prevent the College from having to pay the applicable PFL insurance premium.
Amount of Leave
The amount of PFL time available to eligible employees will be phased-in under state law over a period of 4 years as follows:
|Year||# of weeks of PFL available during 52-week time period|
The 52-week time period is calculated by measuring backwards from each day for which PFL is taken. PFL may be taken in daily or weekly increments. In the event that an employee also collects New York State Disability Leave Benefits ("DBL") for his/her own disability, the maximum amount of time that can be taken for both DBL and PFL can total no more than 26 weeks during a 52-week time period.
Multiple employees are not permitted to use PFL to care for the same family member at the same time.
Example: If both spouses work for the College, the College may deny PFL to one spouse if both employees have requested to take PFL during the same period of time to bond with the same child. However, both spouses could take PFL at different times to bond with the same child, and both can use their full annual PFL allotment.
Employees do not continue to receive their full pay from the College during PFL. Rather, they will receive a partial wage replacement benefit payment which will be paid directly from the College's insurance carrier. Benefit levels are set by state law as a percentage of the employee's average weekly income, which will be capped as a percentage of the state average weekly wage. Benefit levels will be phased-in over a period of 4 years as follows:
|Year||Maximum % of employee's average weekly wage||Capped % of the state average weekly wage|
|2018||50%||50% (capped at $652.96 for 2018)|
*In the years following 2018, NYS will make an annual determination (most likely during the fall) about the benefit cap amount that will be used/applied in the next calendar year (i.e., beginning January 1).
If PFL leave spans across calendar years, the employee's benefit amount / rate is set at the time the PFL leave begins and does not increase during the leave period.
PFL may be taken on either a weekly or intermittent basis. Intermittent PFL must be used in full-day increments.
Employees must provide the College with notice regarding the need for PFL before the start of the leave; notice should be given to Human Resources and their supervisor. Employees are required to provide sufficient information and notice to inform the College of the qualifying event, the anticipated timing, and the duration of leave.
- If the need for PFL is foreseeable (i.e., planned medical treatments/appointments, to bond with a child, a qualifying military exigency, etc.), the employee must provide the College with at least 30 days' advance notice, or as soon as the need for leave becomes known.
- If the need for PFL is not foreseeable because of a medical emergency, change in circumstances or lack of advance knowledge, the employee must notify the College as soon as practicable under the circumstances. It should be practicable for the employee to follow his/her department's usual and customary call-in procedure, which typically requires employees to notify their supervisor as far in advance of their scheduled start time as possible regarding their inability to report for work as scheduled.
- If an employee fails to provide 30 days' advance notice of foreseeable PFL and provides no reasonable excuse for the delay, the insurance carrier may partially deny the claim for a period of up to 30 days from the date the notice is given.
- If leave is taken on an intermittent basis, the employee must provide notice as soon as is practicable before each day taken as intermittent leave.
When the need for PFL is foreseeable, including intermittent leave, employees are encouraged to consult with their supervisor and Human Resources regarding leave scheduling so as to minimize operational disruptions to the College.
Applying for PFL Benefits
In addition to notifying Human Resources and a supervisor of the need for leave, in order to receive income replacement benefits while on PFL, a claim form with supporting documentation must be submitted to the College's PFL insurance carrier using the Request for Paid Family Leave form. The claim form is available from Human Resources. The form provides details regarding the documentation required to support the request for PFL benefits. Human Resources will complete the employer-section of the form and employees are responsible for filing the claim for PFL benefits through the carrier in a timely manner. An employee will not receive benefit payments until the claim is fully submitted to the carrier and approved. The carrier will pay or deny the claim within 18 days of the submission.
If an employee is seeking payment for previously taken time off (for example, in the case of a family member's medical emergency that was not foreseeable), the claim must be made within 30 days of the leave. However, employees are encouraged to file claims as quickly as possible to ensure prompt payment of benefits for qualifying leaves.
The carrier will make the final determination of whether the employee is eligible for PFL, whether the reason for the leave qualifies under the law, and whether the employee has provided sufficient documentation to support the need for leave. This determination is not made by the College.
An employee who is absent from work and whose PFL claim is not fully submitted to or approved by the insurance carrier may be authorized for leave, if eligible, under the College's other leave policies. The employee will be required to use any accrued, unused paid time off (absence, vacation, sick or personal time) to cover the absence(s). If the employee does not qualify under other leave policies, and has no other paid time off available, the absence may be considered unexcused pursuant to the College's attendance policy or collective bargaining agreements.
- If the employee's need for leave is for an FMLA-qualifying event and the individual is an eligible employee under the FMLA, the employee must also apply for FMLA pursuant to the College's FMLA Policy.
- If an employee's need for leave qualifies under both PFL and FMLA, but the employee declines to apply for PFL benefits (despite being notified that the reason for leave is a PFL-qualifying reason), any leave taken by the employee for such reason will nevertheless be counted against the employee's PFL allotment.
Use of Paid Time Off with PFL
When an employee takes leave for one of the PFL qualifying reasons above and files a PFL claim, the employee has the option to elect to supplement their PFL benefit with a partial paid absence, sick*, vacation or personal leave day for each day off, to the extent the employee has accrued time available. In no case can the combination of benefits result in the receipt of more than 100 percent of an employee's normal wages, and the employee cannot use absence, vacation and/or personal leave that he/she has not yet accrued. Employees are responsible for notifying Human Resources of this election prior to taking leave.
*Employees may use available sick days to supplement PFL benefits. In order to use a sick day, the reason for the absence must otherwise qualify under the College's Sick Time/Sick Leave policy.
Maintenance of Health and Other Benefits
Leave under this policy does not result in the loss of any previously accrued seniority or employment benefits.
While an employee is out of work on an approved PFL, the College will maintain the employee's group health benefits as if the employee continued to be working. Specifically, the College will continue to pay its portion of the group health insurance premium (where applicable) while the employee is on PFL.
The employee will be responsible for continuing to contribute his/her portion of the health insurance premium(s) and is expected to make arrangements with Human Resources to ensure timely payment. If payment is more than 30 days late, the College will send the employee a letter to this effect. If the College does not receive the premium payment within 15 days of this letter, coverage will cease. If an employee's group health coverage is terminated during PFL leave due to nonpayment of premiums, coverage will be reinstated upon the employee's return to work.
Restoration of Employment
An employee who returns to work at the conclusion of an approved period of PFL will be restored to the same position or to a comparable position (with comparable pay, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment). If the employee has exhausted all weeks of available PFL and is still unable to return to work, the employee is no longer provided with any job restoration rights under PFL, unless other job protections apply (e.g., FMLA).
If an employee's request for PFL has been denied by the insurance carrier, the employee has the right to appeal the determination through an arbitration proceeding. Information regarding the appeal process is available from the insurance carrier.
Protection from Discrimination and Retaliation
The College will not discriminate and/or retaliate against any employee for inquiring about, applying for, or using PFL benefits. Employees who believe they have experienced discrimination and/or retaliation should immediately notify their supervisor, Human Resources or any other member of management.
An employee who fraudulently obtains PFL, or who uses PFL in an improper manner, is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
An employee who has questions concerning PFL is encouraged to contact Human Resources for more information, clarification and/or appropriate guidance.