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Paid Family Leave: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can an employee collect unemployment insurance while on Paid Family Leave?

A: No. When an employee is on Paid Family Leave (or vacation or any other paid leave), he or she is not entitled to unemployment insurance benefits because he or she is still employed (even if not required to perform work) and because he or she is not available for work.


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Q: Are the premiums paid under the Paid Family Leave program through employee payroll deduction considered remuneration for unemployment insurance purposes?

A: Yes. Each employee’s total remuneration is the amount prior to any deductions, including deductions for the premiums for New York’s Paid Family Leave program. This amount is subject to contributions up to the annual wage base.


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Q: Are benefits paid to an employee under the Paid Family Leave program considered remuneration that must be reported by an employer?

A: No. Paid Family Leave benefits received by an employee are not considered remuneration for UI reporting purposes and are not subject to contributions. They are, however, reportable as income for IRS and NYS tax purposes.


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Q: If an employer chooses to hire a temporary employee to replace a regular employee while they are on Paid Family Leave, could the temporary employee file for unemployment insurance benefits once the regular employee returns to work?

A: Yes. The temporary employee would have to meet the normal eligibility requirements under the New York State Unemployment Insurance Law.


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Q: Is an employer responsible for the costs of unemployment insurance benefits paid to a former temporary employee once the regular employee returns to work?

A: If the former temporary employee was found to be eligible to collect unemployment benefits, the employer’s unemployment insurance account would be charged as the last employer in the claim for the first 7 weeks of benefits. The employer may also be charged in the future if the former temporary employee files a subsequent claim for benefits. An employer’s unemployment insurance account is subject to the same charging rules for temporary employees as for other employees.


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Q: If an employee chooses not to return to work after using the Paid Family Leave program, would the employee be eligible to collect unemployment insurance benefits?

A: An employee who chooses not to return to work may file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits but would be subject to the normal eligibility requirements under the New York State Unemployment Insurance Law. In general, claimants must be ready, willing, and able to accept work in a job for which they are qualified. If the employee had a right to return to work on a definite date, the employee could be disqualified unless the employee otherwise has good cause for not returning to work.


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Q: Is an employer’s unemployment insurance account chargeable for unemployment insurance benefits paid to a former employee who chose not to return to work after using the Paid Family Leave program?

A: If the former employee was found to be eligible to collect unemployment benefits, the employer’s unemployment insurance account would be chargeable as the last employer in the claim for the first 7 weeks of benefits and may be chargeable as a base period employer if the former employee files a subsequent claim for benefits.


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Q: Would an employer’s experience rate increase in the next year if an employee uses the Paid Family Leave program?

A: An employer’s experience rate will not necessarily increase. There are various factors that can impact an experience rate, such as overall benefits paid to former employees and whether contributions are paid timely.


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Q: Will an employer have to pay contributions for temporary workers?

A: Yes. Employers must pay contributions for each temporary employee up to the wage base, which is $11,100 for wages paid in 2018.


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