Paid Family Leave Policy


New York's Paid Family Leave (PFL) program provides wage replacement to employees to help them bond with a child, care for a close relative with a serious health condition, or help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service.

Eligible Employees will continue their health insurance with the University while out on leave. If you contribute to the cost of your health insurance, you must continue to pay your portion of the premium cost while on Paid Family Leave. While on paid leave, payroll deductions will continue to collect the employee's share of benefits premiums.

PFL and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave can run concurrently if the reason for the employees' leave qualifies under both laws. FMLA-designated leave taken by an employee due to his or her own serious health condition does not qualify as family leave under the PFL Law, and does not reduce the amount of PFL that the employee is eligible to take.

Alfred University's FMLA policies read that an employee must use all accrued time before going unpaid, therefore, if an event qualifies for both FMLA and PFL, we will require you use your accrued time to make up the percentage that PFL is not covering. If the event qualifies as only PFL, employees cannot be required to use vacation or other paid time off benefits prior to or during PFL. It is important to remember that leave for an employee's own illness is not covered by PFL.

Non-Faculty Employees who regularly work at least 20 hours a week will be eligible for paid-family–leave benefits after 26 weeks of employment, employees who work fewer than 20 hours a week will be eligible after 175 work days. Participation in the program is not optional for non–faculty employees.

New parents can use the leave for baby bonding in the first year after a child's birth, adoption, or foster placement. Employees can also use the paid leave when a family member has a serious health condition or is called to active military duty.

Family members under the new law include: spouses, domestic partners, children, parents, grandparents, and grandchildren. A "parent" or "child" is defined as: biological, adoptive, step, foster, or in–law parental relationships.

Maximum Benefit Table
Year Weeks Available Max % of Employee Average Weekly Wage Cap % of State Average Weekly Wage
2018 8 50% 50%
2019 10 55% 55%
2020 10 60% 60%
2021 12 67% 67%

The maximum benefit is capped at the rate that an employee earning the state's average weekly salary would receive through the program. For example, the benefit will be capped at 67 percent of the state's average weekly salary when the program is fully rolled out in 2021.

For example, in 2018, an employee who makes $1,000 a week would receive a benefit of $500 a week (50% of $1,000). Another employee who makes $2,000 a week would receive a benefit of $652.96, because this employee is capped at one-half of New York State's Average Weekly Wage (NYSAWW) – currently $1,305.92. Half of that amount is the $652.96 benefit.

PFL is funded through payroll deductions from employees, these deductions begin with the first day of employment if the employee is perceived to be eligible for benefits upon hire. The deduction from each paycheck is 0.00126 of the employee's weekly wage (capped at New York State's current average weekly wage of $1,305.92 in 2018). This translates into a 2018 maximum contribution of $1.65/week for employee deductions for their paychecks. The Average Weekly Wage is set every year after a comprehensive analysis by the New York State Department of Labor.

PFL may be received on a continuous or intermittent basis, in increments of one full day. An employee who uses PFL on an intermittent basis is required to provide Alfred University with notice as soon as practicable before each day of intermittent leave. The employee will also be responsible for notifying Cigna when using intermittent leave.

The regulations state that employees who take leave for their own illness and to care for a family member in the same 52–week period may only receive up to a combined total of 26 weeks of paid leave under state short-term disability and PFL benefits.

Employees may take the maximum benefit length in any given 52–week period. The 52–week clock starts on the first day the employee takes Paid Family Leave.

Employees must give a 30 days' notice for foreseeable leave

Whether you are a parent expecting, fostering, or adopting a child, you deserve to take time to care for your child without having to sacrifice your savings or your job. With proper documentation, you may be eligible for up to 8 weeks of employee-funded Paid Family Leave.

Paid Family Leave only begins after birth and is not available for prenatal conditions. A parent may take Paid Family Leave during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child.

Employees have the right to be with their families in times of need without having to put their economic security at risk. The time you spend caring for a loved one with a serious health condition is critical. A close relative includes:

  • Spouse
  • Domestic partner
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Parent-in-law
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild

A serious health condition is 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 continuing supervision by a health care provider.

For example, you need one or more full days to care for your mom when she undergoes chemotherapy; or your dad is having surgery followed by extensive recuperation; or your child is undergoing intense psychotherapy and is unable to attend school for a period of time. You can take Paid Family Leave in these types of instances.

Paid Family Leave is available for families eligible for time off under the military provisions in the federal Family Medical Leave Act when a spouse, child, domestic partner, or parent of the employee is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order of active duty.

Paid Family Leave cannot be used for one's own disability or qualifying military event. It may only be taken to care for your:

  • Spouse
  • Domestic partner
  • Child
  • Parent

When an employee has a foreseeable situation, they should provide the University 30 days advance notice of their intention to use Paid Family Leave. If the event was not foreseeable, the employee must notify their employer as soon as practical.

An employee should submit a completed claim package to the University's Paid Family Leave insurance carrier CIGNA within 30 days of their first day of paid leave. CIGNA must process the claim and issue a determination within 18 days.

Claim forms are available online from Human Resources.

When filing a Paid Family Leave claim, an employee must submit supporting documentation to CIGNA, as detailed here:


The documentation requirement for a claim for Paid Family Leave to bond with a newly born child depends on whether the applicant is the birth mother or the second parent.

The birth mother must submit a birth certificate, if available, or documentation of pregnancy or birth from a health care provider. The document must include the mother's name and the child’s due date or birth date. The second parent must submit, if available, a birth certificate naming them as a parent. If a birth certificate naming the second parent is not available, the second parent may submit a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity or a Court Order of Filiation naming them as a parent.

If those documents are not available, the second parent can submit birth documentation from the birth mother's health care provider and either a marriage certificate or evidence of a civil union or domestic partnership to demonstrate the relationship to the birth mother.

If none of these documents are available, the second parent may submit other documentary evidence of parental relationship to the child, to be evaluated on a case–by–case basis by the carrier.

Foster Care

A claim for Paid Family Leave to bond with a fostered child requires the submission of a letter of placement issued by a county or city department of social services or local voluntary agency. If a second parent is not named in documentation, a copy of the document plus a document verifying the relation to the parent named in the foster care placement will be needed.


A claim for Paid Family Leave to bond with an adopted child requires a court document finalizing adoption, or, for Paid Family Leave taken before the adoption is complete, a document showing that the adoption process is underway. Examples of proof of a pending adoption include a signed statement from an attorney, adoption agency or adoption–related social service provider that the employee is in the process of adopting a child.

If the second parent is not named in that document, they must also file documentation verifying the relationship to the parent named in the adoption.

Serious Health Condition

A claim for Paid Family Leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition requires a medical certification, completed by the care recipient's health care provider.

An authorization for personal health disclosure form is required by the HIPAA Privacy Rule and must be completed by the care recipient and retained on file with the health care provider in order to submit the required medical information.

Active Military Duty Deployment

A claim for Paid Family Leave to assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military duty generally requires either a PFL-5 "Military Qualifying Event" certification or a US Department of Labor "Certificate of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave." Those forms include (1) military documentation of the family member's deployment or impending deployment (active duty orders or other notice from the military), and (2) documentation of the reason for leave.

PFL leave is job–protected, meaning that upon returning from PFL, an employee is entitled to reinstatement to his/her prior position, or to a comparable position with comparable pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.

Pursuant to the Department of Tax Notice No. N–17–12, Paid Family Leave benefits are taxable. Taxes will not be withheld from this money when Cigna issues checks. Cigna will issue a 1099–MISC at the end of the year, which you will need to file with your taxes if you have taken this type of leave. You should expect to owe taxes on this money when filing your taxes.

Policy#: AU-HR-32
Original Effective Date: 10/16/17
Distribution: My AU