Beginning on New Year’s Day 2019, updates to New York State’s Paid Family Leave Program will take effect. Here’s what you need to know.

The 411

  • New York State employees can take job-protected, paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious health condition or to help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service.
  • New York’s Paid Family Leave Program provides ten weeks of wage replacement to eligible employees in 2019.
  • Employees are guaranteed to return to the same or comparable job upon return from Paid Family Leave.
  • Employees are guaranteed continued health insurance while on leave. *If you contribute to the cost of your health insurance, you must continue to pay your portion of the premium cost while on leave.
  • Employees are not required to use all of their sick and/or vacation time before taking Paid Family Leave. However, an employer may permit you to use vacation or sick leave if you’d like to receive your full salary while you are out.
  • Employers cannot discriminate against employees for taking Paid Family Leave.

Virtually every full-time or part-time private employee in New York State will be eligible for Paid Family Leave after working in a job for a period of time. *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.

  • Employees with a regular work schedule of 20 or more hours per week are eligible after 26 weeks of employment.
  • Employees with a regular work schedule of less than 20 hours per week are eligible after 175 days worked.

Eligible employees on paid family leave will receive 55% percent of their average weekly wage in 2019.
For example, in 2019, an employee who makes $1,000 a week would receive a benefit of $550 a week (55% of $1,000).
*Employee benefits will be capped at the Average Weekly Wage (AWW) set every year after a comprehensive analysis by the New York State Department of Labor.

What Does Paid Family Leave Cost You
Employers must provide Paid Family Leave and may collect a portion of the cost through payroll deductions. But what does that mean for you?
Every year, the State of New York will set the rate for Paid Family Leave, and for 2019 it’s set at 0.153% of your weekly salary, capped at the annualized New York State’s Average Weekly Wage.
Calculate your weekly payroll deduction here.

How it Works

  • When possible, employees are to give employers 30 days advance notice that they intend to take paid family leave.
  • Employers must either present a claim form to the employee, which will go to the insurance company, or give the employee information on how to obtain a claim form from the insurer or New York’s Paid Family Leave website.
  • Employee obtains supporting documentation for leave *Birth certificate, military deployment certification etc.
  • Employee submits claim form and supporting documentation to insurance carrier or as directed by employer. Insurance carrier must pay or deny claim within 18 days of receipt of the completed claim.
  • If an employer needs to hire someone to fill in for an employee who is on paid family leave, the employer should either state up front that the position is temporary or — in the event they wish to retain the temporary employee — they must offer a comparable job to the returning employee.
  • Employers may not use paid family leave as an excuse to terminate someone’s employment.