New York State Paid Family Leave Act
The federal FMLA already provides unpaid leave, however, as of January 1, 2018, if you work for a private employer in New York State (NYS) and you have regularly worked 20 hours or more per week for 26 consecutive weeks, or you have regularly worked less than 20 hours per week for 175 days, you may be eligible for Paid Family Leave. The NYS Paid Family Leave Law is one of the strongest family leave policies in the United States, covering new parents, family caregivers and military families with active duty deployment. The law covers most employees in the private sector, including part-time workers. A private employer is an employer who is not the state or federal government, political subdivision of the state or other public authority. If you are self-employed, you can opt-in to coverage.
Under the NYS law, you can get paid time off for the following reasons:
- To bond with a newly-born, adopted or foster child;
- To care for a close relative with a serious health condition; or
- To assist when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service.
- A COVID-19 diagnosis is a serious health condition under the Paid Family Leave law, so if you are caring for a close relative (your child, parent, parent-in-law, spouse, domestic partner, grandchild, or grandparent) who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and you are covered by the NYS Paid Family Leave Act, you can use your leave to care for them.
- NYS also passed a special emergency law related to the coronavirus pandemic. Depending on the size of your employer and subject to certain limitations, you may also have the right to paid time off under this law if you are caring for yourself or your child due to a specific quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 (typically, when you or your child have been exposed to the virus).
When you use NYS Paid Family Leave, you will also have full job protection. This means you do not have to worry about keeping your job when you need to take time off for one of the above reasons, because you are entitled to your job (or a comparable job) when you are able to return to work. In addition, your health insurance coverage will continue while you are on paid leave, but you will be responsible for any premium payments you regularly make.
For 2020, you are allowed to take up to 10 weeks of Paid Family Leave in a 12-month period and you will receive 60% of your average weekly wage, capped at $840.70. That maximum amount, however, is equal to 60% of the State Average Weekly Wage of $1,401.17. Unfortunately, the payroll deduction from your wages also increases to 0.270% of your wages up to a maximum amount of $196.72 per year. Each year thereafter, until 2021, the percentage of your weekly wage and the number of weeks of leave time increases. By 2021, you will be entitled to 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave and can receive up to 67% of your average weekly wage. See the below chart for details. You can take your Paid Family Leave all at one time or you can take it one day at a time, as needed.
|Year||Weeks of Leave||Benefit|
|2019||10 weeks||55% of employee's average weekly wage, up to 55% of statewide average weekly wage|
|2020||10 weeks||60% of employee's average weekly wage, up to 60% of statewide average weekly wage|
|2021||12 weeks||67% of employee's average weekly wage, up to 67% of statewide average weekly wage|
Legal Editors: Albert Rizzo and the Labor & Employment Committee of the New York City Bar Association, January 2018 (updated July 2020)
Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.