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Monday, March 18, 2019

Federal vs. New York family and medical leave laws – Part 3

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides eligible employees of covered employers with unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.

In addition to the federal FMLA, New York has laws regarding pregnancy leave, adoptive parents leave, blood donation leave, bone marrow donation leave, military spouse leave and paid family leave (effective Jan. 1, 2018).

The comparison chart below continues our review of federal vs. New York family and medical leave laws regarding an intermittent leave, reinstatement rights and the maintenance of health benefits during leave.

Family and Medical Leave in New York

FEDERAL ELEMENTS
STATE ELEMENTS
Intermittent Leave
Permitted for serious health condition, for care of covered service member when medically necessary and for active duty leave.
Not permitted for care of newborn or new placement by adoption or foster care, unless employer agrees.
Pregnancy leave: Employers must treat disability arising from pregnancy in the same manner as other disabilities.
Adoptive parents leave: Employers that permit employees to take leaves of absence upon the birth of a child must permit an adoptive parent, following commencement of parent-child relationship, the same leave upon the same terms (unless the child has reached school age or, in the case of a hard-to-place or handicapped child, has reached age 18).
Blood donation leave: No provision
Bone marrow donation leave: No provision
Military spouse leave: No provision
Paid family leave (effective Jan. 1, 2018): Paid family leave benefits may be received on an intermittent basis (less than a full workweek), in increments of one full day (that is, one-fifth of the weekly benefit).
Reinstatement Rights
Must be restored to same position or one equivalent to it in all benefits and other terms and conditions of employment.
Pregnancy leave: Employers cannot discriminate on the basis of sex and must treat disability arising from pregnancy in the same manner as other disabilities.
Adoptive parents leave: Employers that permit employees to take leaves of absence upon the birth of a child must permit an adoptive parent, following commencement of parent-child relationship, the same leave upon the same terms (unless the child has reached school age or, in the case of a hard-to-place or handicapped child, has reached age 18).
Blood donation leave: No provision
Bone marrow donation leave: No provision
Military spouse leave: No provision
Paid family leave (effective Jan. 1, 2018): An employee who takes paid family leave must be reinstated to his or her original position upon return to work or reinstated to a comparable position with equal pay, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment. 
Maintenance of Health Benefits During Leave
Health insurance must be continued under same conditions as prior to leave.
Pregnancy leave: Employers cannot discriminate on the basis of sex and must treat disability arising from pregnancy in the same manner as other disabilities.
Adoptive parents leave: Employers that permit employees to take leaves of absence upon the birth of a child must permit an adoptive parent, following commencement of parent-child relationship, the same leave upon the same terms (unless the child has reached school age or, in the case of a hard-to-place or handicapped child, has reached age 18).
Blood donation leave: No provision
Bone marrow donation leave: No provision
Military spouse leave: No provision
Paid family leave (effective Jan. 1, 2018): Employers must maintain group health plan benefits for the duration of paid family leave as if the employee had continued to work.

Please note that the information in the above chart focuses on statewide laws. Employers must be aware that numerous cities across the country (including New York City) have enacted local ordinances that mandate employers provide paid sick leave to employees. An employer located in a city with a paid sick leave law must comply with the local ordinance and statewide law, if applicable.

Read about other federal and state areas of comparison in federal vs. New York family and medical leave laws – Part 1 and Part 2. These comparison charts are provided for general informational purposes only. They are not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. If you have any questions or would like to begin talking to an employee benefits consultant, please get in touch by email or by calling (855) 882-9177.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Federal vs. New York family and medical leave laws – Part 2


The federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides eligible employees of covered employers with unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.

In addition to the federal FMLA, New York has laws regarding pregnancy leave, adoptive parents leave, blood donation leave, bone marrow donation leave, military spouse leave and paid family leave (effective Jan. 1, 2018).

The comparison chart below continues our review of federal vs. New York family and medical leave laws regarding the type of leave and criteria for a serious health condition/serious injury or illness.

Family and Medical Leave in New York

FEDERAL ELEMENTS
STATE ELEMENTS
Type of Leave
Unpaid leave for:
·         birth of employee’s newborn child;
·         placement of child with employee for adoption or foster care;
·         providing care for employee's parent, child or spouse with a serious health condition;
·         employee’s own serious health condition;
·         any qualifying exigency when employee’s spouse, child or parent is on active duty or is notified of impending call or order to active duty in Armed Forces; or
·         caring for a spouse, child, parent or next of kin who is a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.
Pregnancy leave: Employers cannot discriminate on the basis of sex and must treat disability arising from pregnancy in the same manner as other disabilities. New York has a temporary disability insurance program that requires employers to provide short-term disability insurance for their employees. Employers are required to provide partial wage replacement for up to 26 weeks to employees who are temporarily unable to work due to disability. Pregnancy is considered a disability under the program. 
Adoptive parents leave: Employers that permit employees to take leaves of absence upon the birth of a child must permit an adoptive parent, following commencement of parent-child relationship, the same leave upon the same terms (unless the child has reached school age or, in the case of a hard-to-place or handicapped child, has reached age 18).
Blood donation leave: At the employer’s option, either:
·         unpaid leave to donate blood off of the employer’s premises; or
·         blood donation during work hours without use of any accumulated leave time or other paid time off.
Bone marrow donation leave: Unpaid leave to undergo a medical procedure to donate bone marrow.
Military spouse leave: Unpaid leave during the time the military member is on leave from deployment.
Paid family leave (effective Jan. 1, 2018): An employee may receive paid family leave benefits for the following reasons:
·         to provide care to a family member with a serious health condition;
·         to bond with the employee's child during the first 12 months after the child's birth, or after the placement of the child for adoption or foster care with the employee; or
·         for any qualifying exigency as interpreted under the federal FMLA arising out of the fact that the spouse, domestic partner, child or parent of the employee is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Paid family leave benefits will be funded through employee paycheck deductions. Employers are not responsible for contributing to or funding paid family leave benefits, but may choose to do so. Employers may begin collecting employee contributions as of July 1, 2017.
Serious Health Condition/Serious Injury or Illness
Serious Health Condition:
Illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition involving incapacity or treatment connected with inpatient care in hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility, or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider involving a period of incapacity due to:
·         a health condition lasting more than three consecutive full calendar days and involving a certain level of treatment;
·         a chronic serious health condition or a permanent or long-term condition for which treatment may be ineffective;
·         absences to receive multiple treatments (including recovery periods) for a restorative surgery or for a condition that if left untreated likely would result in incapacity of more than three days; or
·         any incapacity related to pregnancy or for prenatal care.
Serious Injury or Illness:
In the case of a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, an injury or illness incurred by the member in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces (or which existed before the beginning of active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty) that may render the member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank or rating.
For a veteran of the Armed Forces, including a veteran of the National Guard or Reserves, an injury or illness incurred by the member in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces (or which existed before the beginning of active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty) and that manifested itself either before or after the member became a veteran.
Paid family leave (effective Jan. 1, 2018): Serious health condition means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential healthcare facility, continuing treatment or continuing supervision by a healthcare provider.
Please note that the information in the above chart focuses on statewide laws. Employers must be aware that numerous cities across the country (including New York City) have enacted local ordinances that mandate employers provide paid sick leave to employees. An employer located in a city with a paid sick leave law must comply with the local ordinance and statewide law, if applicable.

Read about other federal and state areas of comparison in Federal vs. New York Family & Medical Leave Laws – Part 1. These comparison charts are provided for general informational purposes only. They are not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice.

If you have any questions or would like to begin talking to an employee benefits consultant, please get in touch by email or by calling (855) 882-9177.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Federal vs. New York family and medical leave laws – Part 1

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides eligible employees of covered employers with
unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. For example, under the FMLA, eligible employees may take leave for their own serious health conditions, for the serious health conditions of family members, to bond with newborns or newly adopted children or for certain military family reasons.

In addition to providing eligible employees with an entitlement to leave, the FMLA requires that employers maintain employees’ health benefits during leave and restore employees to their same or equivalent job positions after leave ends. The FMLA also sets requirements for notices, by both the employee and the employer, and provides employers with the right to require certification of the need for FMLA leave in certain circumstances.

In addition to the federal FMLA, New York has laws regarding pregnancy leave, adoptive parents leave, blood donation leave, bone marrow donation leave, military spouse leave and paid family leave (effective Jan. 1, 2018). Review the comparison chart below to learn more regarding the types of employers covered, employees eligible and leave amount.

Family and Medical Leave in New York

FEDERAL ELEMENTS
STATE ELEMENTS
Employers Covered
Private employers with 50 or more employees in at least 20 weeks of the current or preceding year.
Public agencies, including state, local and federal employers.
Local education agencies covered under special provisions.
In addition to the federal FMLA, New York has laws regarding pregnancy leave, adoptive parents leave, blood donation leave, bone marrow donation leave, military spouse leave and paid family leave (effective Jan. 1, 2018).
Pregnancy leave: Employers with four or more employees.
Adoptive parents leave: All employers.
Blood donation leave: Employers with at least 20 employees at one or more worksites.
Bone marrow donation leave: Employers with at least 20 employees at one or more worksites.
Military spouse leave: Employers with at least 20 employees at one or more worksites.
Paid family leave (effective Jan. 1, 2018): All employers. Paid family coverage will typically be added to the employer’s existing disability insurance policy.
Employees Eligible
Worked for employer for at least 12 months (which need not be consecutive); worked at least 1,250 hours for employer during 12 months preceding leave and employed at a worksite with 50 or more employees within 75 miles of worksite.
Pregnancy leave: Pregnant employees.
Adoptive parents leave: Employees who are adoptive parents following the commencement of the parent-child relationship (unless the child has reached school age or, in the case of a hard-to-place or handicapped child, has reached age 18).
Blood donation leave: Employees who work an average of 20 or more hours per week. Excludes independent contractors.
Bone marrow donation leave: Employees who work an average of 20 or more hours per week. Excludes independent contractors.
Military spouse leave: Employees who work an average of 20 or more hours per week and who are the spouse of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves who has been deployed during a period of military conflict to a combat theater or combat zone of operations. Excludes independent contractors.
Paid family leave (effective Jan. 1, 2018): An employee who works 20 hours or more per week is eligible for paid family leave benefits if the employee works for a covered employer for 26 or more consecutive weeks. A part-time employee (an employee who works fewer than 20 hours per week) is eligible for paid family leave after he or she has worked for a covered employer for 175 days.
Leave Amount
Generally, up to a total of 12 weeks during a 12-month period.
Up to 26 weeks during a single 12-month period to care for spouse, child, parent or next of kin who is a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.
However, leave for birth, adoption, foster care, care for a parent with a serious health condition or care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness must be shared by spouses working for same employer.
Pregnancy leave: Employers cannot discriminate on the basis of sex and must treat disability arising from pregnancy in the same manner as other disabilities.
Adoptive parents leave: Employers that permit employees to take leaves of absence upon the birth of a child must permit an adoptive parent, following commencement of parent-child relationship, the same leave upon the same terms (unless the child has reached school age or, in the case of a hard-to-place or handicapped child, has reached age 18).
Blood donation leave: At the employer’s option, either:
·         Three hours of leave in any 12-month period for an employee to donate blood; or
·         Blood donation during work hours, without use of accumulated leave time, at least two times per year at a convenient time and place set by the employer, including allowing the employee to participate in a blood drive at the employer’s site.
Bone marrow donation leave: The total length of each leave is determined by the employee's physician, but may not exceed 24 work hours for each bone marrow donation, unless the employer agrees otherwise. There is no limit to how frequently an employee may take bone marrow donation leave.
Military spouse leave: Up to 10 days of leave.
Paid family leave (effective Jan. 1, 2018): Paid family leave benefits will be phased in over a four-year period. In 2018, eligible employees may receive up to eight weeks of paid family leave at 50% of their average weekly wages. When fully implemented in 2021, eligible employees may receive up to 12 weeks of paid family leave at 67% of their average weekly wages. 

Please note that the information in the above chart focuses on statewide laws. Employers must be aware that numerous cities across the country (including New York City) have enacted local ordinances that mandate employers provide paid sick leave to employees. An employer located in a city with a paid sick leave law must comply with the local ordinance and statewide law, if applicable.

This comparison chart is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. If you have any questions or would like to begin talking to an employee benefits consultant, please get in touch by email or by calling (855) 882-9177.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

2019 ACA compliance overview — Employer shared responsibility rules

The Affordable Care Act has made significant changes to group health plans since it was enacted in 2010. Many of these key reforms became effective in 2014 and 2015, including health plan design changes, increased wellness program incentives and employer shared responsibility penalties.

Changes to some ACA requirements, such as increased dollar limits, take effect in 2019 for employers sponsoring group health plans. To prepare for 2019, employers should review upcoming requirements and develop a compliance strategy.

This article provides an overview of the employer shared responsibility rules.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Strategic Benefit Services named a PLANADVISER Top 100 Retirement Plan Adviser for the 3rd time

PLANADVISER has named Strategic Benefit Services as one of its 2019 Top 100 Retirement Plan Advisers. PLANADVISER’s Top 100 Retirement Plan Advisers is an annual list of the retirement plan advisers and adviser teams at the top of their respective peer groups in terms of assets under advisement or number of retirement plan clients—including sponsors of defined contribution, defined benefit and nonqualified plans.

“SBS is honored to be again recognized by PLANADVISER,” said James J. Kelley, president, SBS. “We are also grateful to our clients for continuously placing their trust in us. We strive to build real relationships with our clients, creating a shared fiduciary responsibility with the companies we advise.”

SBS is categorized by PLANADVISER as a large team, having met this year’s eligibility standards of $3.5 billion or more retirement plan assets under advisement or 200 or more plans. SBS was previously named to PLANADVISER’s list in 2017 and 2016. SBS has been providing retirement services to leading healthcare, not-for-profit and corporate organizations for more than four decades. We provide trusted advisory and consulting services including plan design, vendor management, investment selection and monitoring, operational oversight, and on-site education and communication. SBS also provides services in support of employer mergers and acquisitions, defined benefit plan de-risking strategies and other complex matters including DOL and IRS audits. SBS conducts business in accordance with our values, in a manner that is in the best interests of our clients, with an ultimate goal of assuring our clients’ employees are ready for retirement.