I. General Information
Syracuse University is proud to offer family-friendly, comprehensive benefits to our employees to support a healthy work-life balance. When events occur that require the employee to take a short leave of absence, Paid Family Leave (PFL) can provide partial income replacement and continued access to health and welfare benefits. PFL benefits are available to eligible staff employees and student employees, who work in New York State.
PFL benefits provide job-protected, paid leave to allow eligible employees to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious health condition, or help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service, in compliance with New York State law and regulatory requirements.
An employee working in New York will be eligible for PFL benefits if the employee is not a member of the faculty and is classified as a regular, temporary, or student employee in the records of the Office of Human Resources who has met the work requirements described below. Graduate Assistants with an appointment of 5 or more hours per week are also eligible when they meet the eligibility requirements described below.
An employee will be eligible for PFL benefits:
- After 26 weeks of employment when the employee’s regular work schedule is 20 or more hours per week. If the employee’s status remains active during semester breaks, such breaks are ignored for determining whether the employee has been employed for 26 consecutive weeks; or
- After working 175 days when the employee’s regular work schedule is less than 20 hours per week.
- The use of scheduled vacation time; the use of personal, sick or other approved time away from work; or other periods where the employee is away from work but is still considered to be an employee are counted as days/weeks of employment for purposes of determining eligibility to receive PFL benefits, so long as the employee has paid any required PFL premium during such periods of time.
- Periods of temporary disability during which the employee receives New York State short-term disability benefits are not counted as days/weeks of employment for purposes of determining eligibility to receive PFL benefits.
- Eligibility for PFL does not necessarily mean an employee is eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). When an employee simultaneously qualifies for both PFL and FMLA or any other statutorily required leave of absence, the employee’s PFL and FMLA leave or other statutorily required leave will run concurrently.
Syracuse University will deduct employee contributions from staff, as permitted by New York State Workers’ Compensation Law, at the rate determined by the Department of Financial Services. Employee contributions will continue while an employee is receiving PFL benefits. Contributions will be suspended for employees on DBL leave who have not yet acquired eligibility for PFL benefits.
Paycheck deductions will not be taken from student employees and graduate assistants.
In limited circumstances, employees whose regular work schedules are temporary or seasonal may opt out of PFL. Employees who complete a waiver will not contribute to PFL through payroll deductions and will not be eligible to receive PFL benefits. If the employee’s schedule changes resulting in the expectation to qualify for PFL, the waiver is automatically revoked and paycheck deductions will begin.
Qualifying Reasons for Leave
An eligible employee may be entitled to PFL:
- To participate in providing care, including physical or psychological care for a family member (spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild) of the employee made necessary by a serious health condition of the family member.
- To bond with the employee’s child during the first 12 months after the child’s birth; during the first 12 months after the placement of the child for adoption or foster care; or before the actual placement or adoption of a child if an absence from work is required for the placement for adoption or foster care to proceed.
- Due to any qualifying exigency (as set forth in the FMLA) arising out of active duty or an impending call or order to active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States for the spouse, domestic partner, child or parent of the employee.
Length of Leave and Benefit Rate
On or after January 1, 2018 the length of allowable PFL and paid benefit rate is as follows:
- up to 8 weeks during any 52 consecutive week period; and
- paid at 50% of the employee’s average weekly wage, not to exceed 50% of the statewide average weekly wage.
- On or after January 1, 2019 the length of allowable PFL and paid benefit rate is as follows:
- up to 10 weeks during any 52 consecutive week period; and
- paid at 55% of the employee’s average weekly wage, not to exceed 55% of the statewide average weekly wage.
- On or after January 1, 2020 the length of allowable PFL and paid benefit rate is as follows:
- up to 10 weeks during any 52 consecutive week period; and
- paid at 60% of the employee’s average weekly wage, not to exceed 60% of the statewide average weekly wage.
- On or after January 1, 2021 the length of allowable PFL and paid benefit rate is as follows:
- up to 12 weeks during any 52 consecutive week period; and
- paid at 67% of the employee’s average weekly wage, not to exceed 67% of the statewide average weekly wage.
An employee who is eligible for both New York State short-term disability benefits and PFL benefits during the same period of 52 consecutive calendar weeks may not receive more than 26 total weeks of combined New York State short-term disability benefits and PFL benefits during that period of time. Employees may not use PFL during periods of time when the employee is receiving workers’ compensation benefits. When an employee’s need for PFL is foreseeable, the employee is required to provide the University 30 days advance notice of his or her intention to use PFL. If the need for PFL is not foreseeable, the employee must notify the University as soon as practical. In providing notice of the intention to use PFL, the employee must provide information sufficient to make the University aware of the qualifying event and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave, including identifying the type of PFL as listed above. When filing a claim for PFL, the employee must submit supporting documentation, which may include medical documentation, depending on the nature of the requested PFL.
The 52-week consecutive period is computed retroactively to the first day for which benefits are claimed. The benefit rate for the employee’s period of PFL is the rate that is in effect on the first day of PFL taken.
Continuation of Health Insurance
During PFL, Syracuse University maintains the employee’s health coverage under its group health plan, provided the employee continues to make his or her portion of the premium contribution. It is the employee’s responsibility to tender payment to the University of his or her portion of the health insurance premium by the premium due date.
Additional Information may be found on the Human Resources Family Leave webpage.
Average Weekly Wage: The average of the gross weekly wages earned from working at Syracuse University for the eight weeks prior to the start of PFL, including overtime, tips, bonuses, and commissions, before any deductions, such as federal and state taxes.
Serious Health Condition: an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:
- Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential health care facility; or
- Continuing treatment or supervision by a health care provider.
Ordinarily, conditions such as the common cold, the flu, ear aches, upset stomach, minor ulcers, routine dental or orthodontia problems, periodontal disease, etc. do not meet the definition of a serious health condition.
Forms to request a Paid Family Leave can be found on the Human Resources Forms website.
Other Related Policies and Documents
Information provided by New York State is located on the New York State Paid Family Leave webpage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Information for general employees can be found on the Human Resources Family Leave webpage.
Information to assist managers and supervisors can be found on the Human Resources website.
Effective: Jan. 1, 2018