Some observers believe the program is underfunded
ALBANY — Employees in New York State can now take advantage of paid family leave. The benefit began at the start of 2018, but many of you still have questions about how this will work and who is paying for it.
If you take a close look at your pay stub, you'll notice a deduction for paid family leave. That deduction won't be more than $1.65.
You are paying for the ability to take up to eight weeks off under certain circumstances and get paid 50 percent of your salary during that time. In 2021, employees can take off up to 12 weeks.
You can use the benefit to take care of a new child (birth, adopted or foster), to care for a sick family member or to take care of immediate needs when a family member is deployed to the military.
The small deduction has some scratching their heads about how this will work.
Nathaniel Garfield, director of Employee Benefits at Novem Group, says the way the numbers stand now the program is underfunded. Each month the state would deduct a little more than $7 but still, somehow, you'd have 50 percent of your salary paid for eight weeks. Garfield says it doesn't add up.
"It looks to me like only one in 60 people are going to be taking the benefit so I just don't know if the money is ever going to work out for them," Garfield said.
A spokeswoman issued the following statement to News10NBC:
"Paid Family Leave is an insurance product, tied to the employer's short-term disability policy. The premiums are funded through employee contributions. The Department of Financial Services set the initial rate based on a variety of assumptions, including expected utilization. Rates can be adjusted annually based on overall market conditions and actual utilization. Furthermore, the benefit is half of an employee's average weekly wage, up to a cap, which is set at half of the New York State Average Weekly Wage."
The state's average weekly wage is about $1,300. That would come out to a little more than $650 in benefits for a week. The numbers still don't add up, but the remaining balance would be covered by your employer's disability insurance policy.
To use the paid family leave benefit you must notify your employer 30 days in advance.