NYS Paid Family Leave

NYS Paid Family Leave
Effective 7/1/2017 for deductions
Effective 1/1/2018 for use

What is it?:

New York’s Paid Family Leave program provides wage replacement to employees to help them bond with a child, care for a close relative with a serious health condition, or help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service.

Employees are also guaranteed to be able to return to their job and continue their health insurance. If you contribute to the cost of your health insurance, you must continue to pay your portion of the premium cost while on Paid Family Leave.

Who is eligible?:
Virtually every full-time or part-time private employee in New York State will be eligible for Paid Family Leave. Participation in the program is not optional for employees. If you are a public employee, your employer may opt into the program. Public employees who are represented by a union may be covered if Paid Family Leave is collectively bargained.

An employee must be employed full-time for 26 weeks or part time for 175 days to be eligible for a Paid Family Leave Benefit.

Employees do not have to take all of their sick leave and/or vacation before using paid family leave. An employer may permit you to use sick or vacation leave for full pay, but may not require you to use this leave.

Maternity and Paternity Leave:

Whether you are an expecting parent, or fostering or adopting a child, you deserve to take time to care for your child without having to sacrifice your savings or your job. With proper documentation, in 2018, you may be eligible for up to eight weeks of employee-funded Paid Family Leave.

Paid Family Leave only begins after birth and is not available for prenatal conditions. A parent may take Paid Family Leave during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child.

Caring for a Close Relative with a Serious Health Condition:

New Yorkers have the right to be with their families in times of need without having to put their economic security at risk. The time you spend caring for a loved one with a serious health condition is critical. A close relative includes:

  • Spouse
  • Domestic partner
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Parent in-law
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild

A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:

  • In-patient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential health care facility; or
  • continuing treatment or continuing supervision by a health care provider.

For example, you need one or more full days to care for your mom when she undergoes chemotherapy; or your dad is having surgery followed by extensive recuperation; or your child is undergoing intense psychotherapy and is unable to attend school for a period of time. You can take Paid Family Leave in these types of instances.

Active Duty Deployment:

Paid Family Leave is available for families eligible for time off under the military provisions in the federal Family Medical Leave Act when a spouse, child, domestic partner or parent of the employee is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order of active duty.

Paid Family Leave cannot be used for one’s own disability or qualifying military event. It may only be taken to care for your:

  • Spouse
  • Domestic partner
  • Child
  • Parent

When is an employee eligible?:

Full time employees are eligible after 26 weeks of being hired. Part-time employees are eligible after 175 days of being hired.

Payroll Deductions:

Payroll Deductions for the paid family leave starts on 07/01/2017.  Deduction will be .126% of the gross weekly wage which is capped at the statewide wage of $1,305.92.  The deduction is mandatory for Full Time and Part Time Employees.  Seasonal employees are not eligible and can opt out since they will not work 175 days in a year.

Employee Notice:

Once an employee is eligible, they must provide the employer with a 30 day notice that they will use the benefit.  The employee has 30 days to submit the claim.

Year Weeks Available Max % of Employee
Average Weekly Wage
Cap % of State
Average Weekly Wage
 1/1/2018 8 50% 50%
 1/1/2019 10 55% 55%
 1/1/2020 10 60% 60%
 1/1/2021 12 67% 67%

For example, in 2018, an employee who makes $1,000 a week would receive a benefit of $500 a week (50% of $1,000). Another employee who makes $2,000 a week would receive a benefit of approximately $648, because this employee is capped at one-half of New York State’s Average Weekly Wage (NYSAWW) —currently $1,296. Half of that amount is the $648 benefit.
The Average Weekly Wage (AWW) is set every year after a comprehensive analysis by the New York State Department of Labor.


Are employees eligible if they live outside NYS?

Yes, NYS Paid Family Leave is based on where the employee works not where they live.  If an employee works for 30 hours in a year, they are considered eligible.

Can my employer force me to exhaust my paid time off before using my NYS Paid Family Leave?:

No, employees can use their accrued paid time in conjunction with NYS Paid Family Leave time.  Employers cannot have a policy forcing the employee to exhaust their time before using the paid time benefit.

Will the employee be eligible for the same job protections with FMLA?

Yes, the employee will have job protections and return to their position or equivalent mirroring the act.

Can you use NYS Paid Family leave be used for prenatal conditions? 

No, paid leave beings after the birth of a child.

Can an employee use the NYS Family Paid Leave to care for a relative?

Yes, as long as they provide medical certification.

Will my spouse and I be able to use NYS Paid Family Leave at the same time?

If you and your spouse have different employers, you are both eligible to take Paid Family Leave at the same time.

If you and your spouse work for the same employer, they can deny Paid Family Leave to more than one employee at the same time to care for the same family leave recipient, or to bond with a child.

What do Employers need to do?

  • Communicate the new benefit to employees
    • Deductions of .126% of gross weekly wages will be mandatory
    • Benefits of coverage
  • Employee’s responsibilities of notification to employer and claim packet
  • Update your NYS disability policy to add this mandatory benefit
  • Update your payroll department regarding the deductions being effective 7/1/2017
  • Update your handbook policies with NYS Paid Family Leave and your paid time off policy if you currently have the policy that the employee must exhaust their time prior to a leave.

Jeff Agranoff Jeff Agranoff is the Chief Human Resources Officer and a Human Resources Consulting Principal at Grassi. With over 18 years of experience working in public accounting firms, Jeff specializes in heading human resource departments, providing outsourced human resource solutions to clients and growing middle market businesses in various industries. Prior to joining Grassi, Jeff was the Chief Operating Officer and a Human Resources Principal... Read full bio