New York’s Paid Family Leave Is Set to Be Most Comprehensive Program of Its Kind
Beginning January 1, 2018, New York’s Paid Family Leave will provide residents the opportunity to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious illness or help alleviate the family pressures when a family member is called upon for active military service. New York’s program does not require an employee to first exhaust his/her sick leave or vacation time before using Paid Family Leave
All New York full-time and part-time private employees are eligible for Paid Family Leave. Participation in the program is not optional for private employees. Public employees, however, may be covered if his/her employer opts into the program. Employees working 20 hours or more per week are eligible for Paid Family Leave after 26 weeks of employment. Employees who work less than 20 hours per week are eligible after 175 days have been worked.
Maternity and paternity leave is available only after birth and is not available for prenatal care. Starting in 2018, individuals may be eligible for up to 8 weeks of employee-funded Paid Family Leave. The number of weeks is set to increase over a four-year period. A parent may take Paid Family Leave during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption or fostering of a child.
Paid Family Leave allows employees to care for a “close relative” with a serious health condition. A close relative includes a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent or grandchild. The program defines serious health condition as “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.” Lastly, Paid Family Leave is also available to those families eligible for time off pursuant to the military provisions in the federal Family Medical Leave Act.
How Does the American Health Care Act Differ From the Affordable Care Act
In an effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA”), the House of Representatives’ Bill, commonly known as the American Health Care Act (“AHCA”), has met much debate. The Senate just recently released its own draft of the House’s counterpart known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act (“BCRA”).
According to the Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”), 23 million fewer Americans will be insured under the House’s proposal while 22 million Americans would become uninsured under the Senate’s proposal. Key areas of both Republican proposals would affect insurance cost, the insurance mandate and guaranteed coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions.
With respect to insurance cost, the House’s proposal permits subsidies to continue but they are based upon an individual’s age, not income. The Senate’s proposal, however, still links aid to an individual’s income but caps the amount at 350% of the poverty level, which would be a decrease when compared to the current law.
The ACA mandates that all individuals maintain health insurance coverage or be subject to a tax penalty. Both the House and Senate’s bills eliminate the tax penalty for failing to purchase health insurance. Under the House bill, anyone without insurance for more than two months would face a six-month waiting period in order to purchase a new plan. Similar to the House bill, under the Senate’s proposal individuals who do not have continuous coverage would be required to wait six months before being able to purchase a new plan.
Under the ACA, insurers cannot deny coverage for preexisting conditions or charge sick individuals higher premiums. The House’s proposal permits states to obtain waivers from several consumer protections in order to limit those conditions that insurers must cover. Under this proposal, states could permit insurers to charge individuals with certain health conditions more for their insurance. Additionally, elderly consumers could face premiums at a rate of five times more than younger consumers could face. The Senate’s proposal also permits states to limit certain health conditions that insurers must cover, but does not allow insurers to charge sick individuals more for their coverage. Just as is the case with the House’s proposal, elderly consumers could be charged five time more for their premiums than younger individuals could.
IRS Office of Appeals Rolls Out Virtual Conferences
Taxpayers will soon have the ability to participate in virtual conferences with the Appeals Office when a pilot test rolls out on August 1, 2017. According to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), the Office of Appeals hears appeals from over 100,000 taxpayers. Currently, videoconference is only available at a limited number of IRS sites.
The pilot program is being implemented in hopes of promoting better efficiency in allowing taxpayers greater flexibility and remote access to the Office of Appeals. The pilot program “will utilize a secure, web-based screen-sharing platform to connect with taxpayers face-to-face from anywhere they have internet access.”
Prepared by Nicholas M. Hriczko, Esq.