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Paid Family Leave

New York State passed the New York Paid Family Leave law in 2016; and employees can start using this leave on January 1, 2018.

Paid Family Leave

Information for Employers & Employees About Paid Family Leave

New York State passed the New York Paid Family Leave law (“NYPFL”) in 2016; and employees can start using this leave on January 1, 2018.  To prepare for this groundbreaking change in employee benefits, all private employers need to know that they must obtain Paid Family Leave insurance coverage from their disability insurance carrier, with the new policy to be funded through employee payroll deductions.  

Employee handbooks and workplace policies should be updated to reflect this new benefit before the January 1, 2018 start date.  Employers with other leave policies will need to consider how they will integrate existing employment policies with the NYPFL.  Employers without any leave policies will want to start planning for implementation of NYPFL. Berke-Weiss Law PLLC can provide this advice to clients.

Employee eligibility for Paid Family Leave

To be eligible for leave under NYPFL, employees must have been employed full-time for 26 weeks, or part-time for 175 days.  If eligible, employees are permitted to take paid leave for reasons covered by the NYPFL, such as:

  • To bond with a new child (including adopted or foster children), during the first 12 months following the birth, fostering or adoption of the child.

  • To provide care for a relative with a serious health condition. Relatives are defined broadly to include child, parent, parent-in-law, spouse, domestic partner, grandchild, grandparent. Serious health condition is defined as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that requires inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential health care facility, or requires continuing treatment by a health care provider.

  • To take time off if an employee’s spouse, child, domestic partner or parent is on, or has been called to, active military duty.

Notably, an employee is not entitled to take leave under NYPFL for their own medical condition, disability, or for military leave. This means that other statutes, such as the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and USERRA also will apply to many employees covered by NYPFL.

Phase-in of Paid Family Leave benefits

January 1, 2018

January 1, 2019

January 1, 2020

January 1, 2021

Amount of Leave Available

8 weeks

10 weeks

10 weeks

12 weeks

Benefits as Percentage of NYS Average Weekly Wage





NYPFL will be phased in over four years, beginning on January 1, 2018, when eligible employees can begin taking leave starting with up to 8 weeks in 2018 to a maximum of 12 weeks in 2021. The benefit is calculated within any given 52 week period. The maximum payment benefit employees will be eligible to receive depends on whether the employee earns more or less than the New York State Average Weekly Wage (“NYSAWW”), an amount determined annually by the New York State Department of Labor.  An employee who earns less than the NYSAWW will receive a percentage of their weekly pay, calculated based on the statutory percentage in effect at that time.  Those who earn more than the NYSAWW will be capped at the percentage of the NYSAWW in effect at the time.  Currently, the NYSAWW is $1,296. See the schedule on this page for more details.