Everything You Need to Know About Paid Family Leave in NY

In 2016, Gov. Cuomo signed the bill into law that will make paid family leave in NY a reality for so many families. The law goes into effect in 2018. Starting January 1st, 2018 most working parents in New York State will be eligible for paid family leave benefits. 

Here are some answers to the questions you may have about paid family leave in NY:

What life events does paid family leave in NY cover?

You can take time off:

  • to take care of a baby following a birth or adoption
  • to take care of close relative if they are ill
  • following the military deployment of a spouse, child, domestic partner or parent of the employee

Who qualifies as a “close relative” in the event of an illness?

A close relative includes:

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

When do benefits start?

Benefits will start on January 1, 2018 beginning with 8 weeks of paid leave, and will increase as follows: 


Will I receive my whole salary? 

Benefits will be capped. Currently, they are capped at one-half of  New York State’s Average Weekly Wage (NYSAWW) —currently $1,305.92. so in 2018 the most per week will be a $652 benefit. Note: The NYS Dept. of Labor sets the AWW every year. 


Are all employees eligible?

Only private employees are eligible, and you have to have worked at least 26 weeks full-time to be eligible.  

I work part-time. Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for a Paid Family Leave Benefit if you work part time for 175 days.

Am I eligible if I’m a freelancer?

No, freelancers are not eligible.

Can I take the benefit once for the birth of a child and a separate time to take care of an sick family member?

No, you can only take the benefit once in a yearly period. 

Does the paid family leave program cover me while I am pregnant?

No, the program will not cover you before the birth of a child.

Can my spouse and I take PFL at the same time? 

Yes, if you don’t work at the same company, but you must take it separately if you work for the same company. 

Do I have to take sick time/vacation time before I use Paid Family Leave benefits?
An employer may permit you to use vacation or sick leave for full salary, but may not require you to use either. 

Is an employer obliged to cover my health insurance while I’m out on PFL? 

Yes! They are required to offer health insurance, but you are required to pay the premiums if you have any. 

Does paid family leave guarantee job protection?

Yes, your employer must offer the same or a comparable job when you return.  Employees are guaranteed job protection, with the same or a comparable job, upon return from Paid Family Leave. 

Are moms and dads both eligible for paid family leave benefits?

Yes, both moms and dads are eligible.

Where can I call to get more information?

You can call the Paid Family Leave hotline: (844) 337-6303

Monday-Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm ET.

OK, NY, are you excited for Paid Family Leave? 

**Note: this is a working document and this post may be updated.  If you have questions, please leave them in the comments section! 

Diana Limongi
Diana a mom, activist, nonprofit professional, podcaster and writer from Queens, NY. She writes about motherhood, activism, raising my multilingual kids, culture and travel. She and her multicultural family live in Queens, NY.

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