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OM 8.1.18 Paid Family Leave

About This Policy

Effective Date: January 1, 2018
Last Updated: February 17, 2022
Responsible University Office: Human Resources
Responsible University Administrator: Executive Director, Human Resources

Policy Contact:

Human Resources

  Applies to

Administrative, Supervisory, and General Staff (Exempt, and Non-Exempt)

Policy Statement Contents

  1. Eligibility, Benefits and Paid Family Leave
  2. Amount of Leave and Benefit Levels
  3. Qualifying Reasons
  4. Intermittent Leave
  5. Employee Notice Requirements, Supplementation of Paid Time Off and Maintenance of Health Benefits
  6. Waiver
  7. Restoration of Employment
  8. Appeal Rights, Protection from Retaliation and Fraud
  9. Applying for Leave Benefits

Policy Purpose

The University is committed to providing leave to assist employees with balancing the demands of the workplace, their individual needs, and the needs of their family in ways that accommodate the legitimate interests of the University’s schools and departments. This policy runs in conjuction with the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Policy Summary

In accordance with the New York State Paid Family Leave Law, effective January 1, 2018, Clarkson University (the “University”) will provide eligible employees with time off to care for family members under certain circumstances detailed below. Employees on paid family leave (PFL) will receive partial pay through an insurance policy funded by a small weekly post-tax payroll deduction (set in accordance with state law). Payroll deductions begin on January 1, 2018, or the employee’s first day of employment, whichever is later. Pursuant to state law, participation in the PFL program is mandatory for all employees covered by the law, except for those eligible for a waiver, as explained below.

Employees working in another state other than New York State may not be eligible or have different coverage within their state.

Definitions of Terms in Statement

Eligible Employees

Staff: Full-time exempt and non-exempt employees.  Part-time exempt and non-exempt employees.

To be eligible for job-protected PFL, an employee must meet the following criteria:

  • A full-time employee (regularly scheduled for at least 20 hours per week) is eligible to take PFL after being employed by the University for 26 consecutive weeks.
  • A part-time employee (regularly scheduled for less than 20 hours per week) is eligible to take PFL after working 175 days.
    • Part-time employees will be paid directly by the carrier at 67% of AWW, capped at NYS AWW.
  • Time spent on paid vacation or sick leave will be counted towards eligibility, provided deductions were taken during that paid time.
  • Time spent on paid disability leave or unpaid leave is not counted.
  • Faculty members or those working in a “teaching capacity” are not eligible for leave under this policy.

Exempt employees are in a prepaid status, any unpaid leave time will alter the annual salary payments; payroll will provide a spreadsheet detailing payments for the remainder of the fiscal year.

PLEASE NOTE: Clarkson employees working in another statue other than New York State may not be eligible for NYS PLF and would be eligible for that state's program if they offer one instead. Program guidelines would follow the state's rules and regulations. Employees can contact Human Resources for state specifics.

Employment Benefits

All benefits provided by the University to employees including group life insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, dental insurance, vacation and sick leave, special personal days, educational benefits, employee assistance, health advocacy and retirement contributions would continue for duration of leave.

Primary Caregiver: A person who provides care for more than half of the care for the newborn child or the adopted child. 

Secondary Caregiver: A person who provides care for less than half of the care for the newborn child or the adopted child.

Paid Family Leave (PFL): A job-protected leave with continuation of medical benefits and with pay (67% of average weekly wage capped at NYS average weekly wage) from the University's disability carrier for up to twelve (12) workweeks in a 52 week backwards counting period. This time can be taken within the first year of birth, adoption, or fostered children or to care for a family member who is seriously ill, or attend to the affairs of a family member called to active duty in the military. 

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): A job-protected leave without pay (or use of an employee's accrued leave with pay) for up to twelve (12) workweeks (or up to 26 weeks for qualified Military leave) during a rolling twelve (12) month period for the reasons specified in this policy in conformance with the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. Operations Manual 8.1.13 Federal Family Medical Leave Act.

Short-Term Disability (STD): Provides benefits to employees when medical providers deem the maternity a "disability" to be greater than eight (8) weeks or prior to the actual birth. Employees may access Short Term Disability and will follow policy procedures outlined in Operations Manual 8.3.6 Short Term Disability, for employees.

Policy Statement

Paid Family Leave (PFL)

The Paid Family Leave provides eligible employees with the right to take job-protected leave with continuation of medical benefits when you need to take time off from work to care for a family member who is seriously ill, to care for a newborn, newly adopted or fostered child, or to attend to the affairs of a family member who is called to active duty in the military. 

Amount of Leave Available

The amount of PFL available is up to 12 weeks in a 52 week period. The 52 weeks are counted by measuring backward from each day for which PFL is taken. 

PFL may be taken in weekly or daily increments but cannot be used for half-days. 

In the event an employee also collects New York State's Disability Leave, benefits for his/her own disability (DBL), the maximum amount of time that can be taken under state law for both DBL and PFL is 26 weeks in a 52-week period. 

Note: The University will not permit more than one employee to use PFL to care for the same family member at the same time. For example, if both spouses work for the University, the University can deny PFL to one spouse if both have requested the same period off to bond with the same child.

Benefit Levels

Eligible full-time employees will be paid 100% by Clarkson University for up to twelve (12) weeks and the University will be reimbursed by our disability carrier at current year's percentage of the employee's average weekly wage capped at NYS average weekly wage. 

Eligible part-time employees will be paid directly by the carrier at 67% for up to twelve (12) weeks at current year's percentage of the employee's average weekly wage capped at NYS average weekly wage.

Benefit levels are set by state law as a percentage of the employee’s weekly income, up to a statewide cap. 

  • Calendar year for 2021 is 67%
  • NYS will set the benefit cap annually and applied to every January.

Qualifying Reasons for PFL:

Once eligible, employees can apply to take PFL for the following reasons: 

  • To provide care for a child (regardless of age), parent (including parent-in-law), sibling, grandparent, grandchild, spouse and/or domestic partner with a “serious health condition.”
  • Providing care includes necessary physical care, emotional support, visitation, assistance in treatment, transportation, arranging for a change in care, assistance with essential daily living matters, and personal attendant services. During the leave, the employee must be in close physical proximity to the care recipient.
  • Serious health condition means an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves either impatient care or continuing treatment or supervision by a health care provider. For further detail as to whether a particular condition qualifies as a serious health condition, please consult with Human Resources.
    • Please note that ordinarily, unless complications arise, the common cold, the flu, earaches, upset stomach, minor ulcers, headaches other than migraine, routine dental or orthodontia problems, periodontal disease, etc., do not constitute a serious health condition.

To bond with a new child following the birth, adoption or placement in foster care.

  • In the case of adoption or placement, leave may be taken prior to the adoption or placement if the employee’s absence is necessary for the placement or adoption to proceed.
  • In the case of a birth, the leave must be taken within the first year following the child’s birth.

To attend to a qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child or parent is on or has been called to military active duty.

If you have questions regarding the definition of qualifying exigency, please consult with Human Resources.

Employees are expected to return to work for a minimum of twelve (12) weeks after the completion of the leave or could be required to pay the University back for payments received while on leave. 

In the event that a medical provider needs to take an employee out of work for pregnancies deemed a "disability", the employee may access Short Term Disability and will follow procedures outlined in the operations manage policy for employees Short Term Disability section 8.3.6. 

PFL is not intended, nor available for the employee’s own disability or serious health condition. Disability and/or medical leave may be available in those circumstances. Please see the University’s New York State Disability Benefits Leave (DBL) or other leave policies for more information.

Note: PFL will run concurrently with leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) where the leave qualifies under both laws. If an employee whose absence qualifies for both PFL and FMLA declines to apply for PFL benefits (despite being notified he/she is also taking leave for a PFL-qualifying reason), such time will nevertheless count against the employee’s PFL allotment.

Intermittent Leave:

PFL can be taken in weekly or daily increments by cannot be used for half-days.

FMLA may be taken intermittently for partial day increments, the University will track the hours taken and when the total hours equate to the employee's usual work day then deduct one day from the FMLA tracker. 

If an employee is taking intermittent FMLA leave in partial day increments for a PFL-qualifying reason, and the employee is paid for working part of a day, the University will track the hours taken as FMLA. When the total hours taken reaches the number of hours in the employee’s usual work day, the University will deduct one day of PFL benefits from the employee’s annual available PFL benefit.

Employee Notice Requirements:
Employees must provide the University with notice prior to the start of any leave by contacting Human Resources.  Human Resources will then provide notice to the University's insurance carrier, Cigna.

  • If the need for leave is foreseeable, such as for planned medical treatment or appointments, or to bond with a child, the employee must provide at least 30 days advance notice, or notice as soon as the need for the leave is known.
  • If the need for leave is not foreseeable because of a medical emergency, change in circumstances, or lack of advance knowledge, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable under the circumstances.
  • If an employee fails to give 30 days’ notice of a foreseeable PFL leave with no reasonable excuse for the delay, the insurance carrier may partially deny the leave claim for a period of up to 30 days from the date the notice is given.
  • If the leave is taken on an intermittent basis, the employee must provide notice before each day of leave.

Maintenance of Health Benefits:

If the disability insurance carrier Cigna approves an employee’s PFL claim, the University will maintain the employee’s health benefits as if the employee continued to be in an active working status. Specifically, the University will continue to pay its portion of the employee’s group health insurance premium while the employee is on PFL.

If any part of the leave is unpaid, employees will be responsible for making arrangements with Human Resources to continue payment for their portion of the premium. If the payment is more than thirty (30) days late, the employee’s health care coverage may be dropped for the duration of the leave. The University will provide fifteen (15) days notification prior to the employee's loss of coverage.


Employees will be afforded the opportunity to waive PFL benefits under the following circumstances:

  • The employee’s regular schedule is 20 or more hours per week, but the employee will not work 26 consecutive weeks; or
  • The employee’s regular schedule is less than 20 hours per week and the employee will not work 175 days in a consecutive 52-week period.

If an employee elects to waive coverage and the regular schedule changes such that the employee works for 26 weeks or 175 days in a consecutive 52-week period, the waiver will be automatically revoked. When the waiver is revoked, the University may begin deducting contributions from the employee, including any retroactive amounts from the date of hire or the amount necessary to prevent the University from paying for coverage.

Restoration to Employment:

Employees who return to work at the conclusion of an approved PFL leave will be restored to the same or to a comparable position (with comparable employment benefits, pay and other terms and conditions of employment) upon their return from leave.

Appeal Rights:

An employee whose claim for PFL benefits has been denied by the insurance carrier has the right to appeal the determination through an arbitration proceeding. Appeal information is available from Cigna.

Protection from Retaliation:

The University will not discriminate and/or retaliate against any employee for inquiring about, applying for or using PFL benefits. Employees who believe they have experienced discrimination and/or retaliation should immediately notify their supervisor, Human Resources, or any other member of management.


An employee who fraudulently obtains PFL leave, or who uses PFL leave in an improper manner, is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.


Applying for Leave Benefits:

To access the Paid Family Leave, the employee must: 

  • Contact the Human Resources department ( to start the interactive process for leave details and options. 
  • Discuss leave options, paperwork, and the process for PFL leave. 

The insurance carrier, Cigna, will make the final determination of whether the employee is eligible for PFL, whether the reason for the leave qualifies under the law, and whether the employee has provided sufficient documentation to support the need for leave.

An employee who is absent from work and is not approved for PFL may be authorized for leave, if eligible, under the University’s other paid and/or unpaid time off policies. If the employee is not eligible under any other paid and/or unpaid time off policies, the absence may be treated as unexcused and subject to the University’s applicable attendance policy.

New York State for guidelines, regulations and forms.
Subject: Paid Family Leave
Contact: Human Resources at 315-268-6497

Policy Background

Effective January 1, 2018, New York State government issued its new policy guidelines and regulations for interpreting the Paid Family Leave (PFL).


Approved January 2018

Amended through University Governance February 2022