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NEW YORK’S FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT

Effective January 1, 2018, almost all non-government employees in New York State are eligible for paid family leave. The leave is paid for through employee payroll contributions and are provided by the employer’s existing disability benefits insurance policy.

Employees with a regular workweek of 20 or more hours per week are eligible after 26 weeks of employment. Those employees with a regular work schedule of less than 20 hours are eligible after 175 days worked. Neither citizenship, nor immigration status have an impact on a worker’s eligibility for paid family leave.

A parent is eligible for paid family leave to bond with a newborn child during the first twelve months following birth, adoption or a foster care arrangement. Spouses with different employers can both take paid family leave at the same time. However, if both spouses work for the same employer, the employer can deny leave to one of them if they ask for the leave, to bond with the child, at the same time.

An employee can also obtain paid family leave to care for an eligible family member with a serious health condition. Family members include a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, in-law, grandparent or grandchild.

Employers with one or more employees are required to obtain paid family leave insurance. This insurance is generally added to the employer’s existing disability policy.  Current employee handbooks should be updated to describe these new employee rights.   In addition, employers, who have not yet done so, should update their payroll deduction process and begin to collect the employee’s contribution to pay for the new benefits. The best practice is to notify the employee before beginning to take the new payroll deductions. In 2018, the employer should deduct 0.126% of the employee’s weekly wage. There is a cap so not deduction is taken against any portion of the weekly wage  in excess of  $1,305.92.

Where the event which will give rise to a claim for paid family leave is foreseeable, the employee is supposed to notify her employer thirty days prior to taking leave. The request is made with a form issued by the employers insurance company. The employee will also be required to provide the insurance carrier with documents supporting her qualification for leave.  The type of proof will vary depending on the reason for the leave. For instance, in the case of a newborn child, the insurance company will require a birth certificate.

A qualified employee will be entitled to half of her average weekly wage up to a maximum of $652.96.

 

Employers who have not done so, should contact their insurance brokers, obtain the necessary insurance and begin deducting the employees contribution from their employees’ pay.

 

THEY ARE BACK

 

For years, the TTB has been underfunded and has receded from the front lines in the fight against violations of the trade practice rules applicable to manufacturers, suppliers and wholesalers.  However, in 2017, the TTB returned to the front lines. Congress provided $5 million in new funding to the TTB for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 for “the cost of programs to enforce trade practice violation of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act.”  We can expect to see more TTB investigations into  tied house violations, commercial bribery and schemes to pay retailers to carry the supplier or wholesaler’s products.

 

IT TAKES LONGER TO BE GET OLDER

XO is the designation for “Extra Old” cognac. The Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (“BNIC”) which regulates cognac has increased the minimum age to qualify for an XO label from six years to a minimum of ten years.  BNIC will allow the XO designation on beverages aged six, seven, eight and nine years that are packaged before March 31, 2018 to be sold until March 31, 2019.

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