What to Expect from the New NYS Paid Family Leave Laws

Beginning January 1, 2018, nearly all private employees in New York State will be eligible for Paid Family Leave. 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.

5 Things Every Employer Should Do:

    1. Ensure you have Paid Family Leave coverage.
      • Most private employers with one or more employees are required to obtain Paid Family Leave insurance. Contact your broker or insurer to get information about available policies.
      • Generally, Paid Family Leave insurance will be added to the disability insurance policy you already carry.
      • If you are self-insured for disability, you may purchase a separate Paid Family Leave policy or apply to self-insure.
      • For a list of insurers offering Paid Family Leave policies, visit the PFL section of the Department of Financial Services website.
    2. Post a workforce notice.
      • Your insurance carrier will provide a Notice of Compliance stating you have Paid Family Leave insurance.
      • If you are self-insured, you can get this notice by contacting the Board at Certificates@wcb.ny.gov to obtain the required notice (which is not available on this website).
      • Post and maintain this notice in a conspicuous place, as is required for notices for Worker’s Compensation and Disability Insurance.
    3. Inform your employees about Paid Family Leave.
      • Update appropriate written materials given to your employees, such as employee handbooks, to include Paid Family Leave information.
      • If you do not have an employee handbook, provide your employees with written guidance regarding their rights and obligations under Paid Family Leave, including information about how to request leave.
      • An employer may not discriminate or retaliate against employees for requesting or taking Paid Family Leave.
    4. Inform non-eligible employees about waivers.
      • Identify employees who will not qualify for the minimum amount of time required for eligibility (see Employee Eligibility section) and let them know they can choose to waive coverage.
      • Employees will need to complete a waiver. A template waiver form is available at ny.gov/PaidFamilyLeave.
      • Keep a copy of completed waivers on file.
    5. Familiarize yourself with Paid Family Leave forms and other resources.
    • Paid Family Leave request and waiver forms are available in the forms section of the NYS website.

When does this go into effect?

Paid Family Leave is designed to phase in over the next four years, beginning January 1, 2018.


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.

Employers may deduct the premium cost for the Paid Family Leave insurance policy from employees through a payroll deduction, or choose to cover the cost themselves.

The maximum employee contribution in 2018 is 0.126% of an employee’s weekly wage, capped at 0.126% of the annualized New York State Average Weekly Wage.

Who is eligible?

Employees must be employed by a covered employer at the time that they apply for Paid Family Leave.

Employee eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • 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.

In limited circumstances, employees whose regular work schedules are temporary or seasonal may opt out of Paid Family Leave.

What are the employees’ benefits?

In 2018, employees will be eligible to receive 50% of their average weekly wage (AWW), capped at 50% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW), for up to 8 weeks.

When Paid Family Leave is fully phased in in 2021, the maximum benefits will increase to 67% of an employee’s AWW, capped at 67% of the SAWW, for up to 12 weeks.