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Everyone should be able to be with the people they love when they need them the most—without risking their economic security. In New York, you have the right to paid family leave that is job-protected time off to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill or injured family member, or address needs due to a family member’s military deployment.

Am I covered?

If you’re employed in New York State (and don’t work for the government), either full-time or part-time, you’re probably covered under the law, regardless of how many people work for your employer.  Beginning January 1, 2020, if you are a farm laborer, you will also have a right to paid family leave.

 

How much paid family leave can I take?

In 2019 and 2020, you can take up to ten weeks of family leave. From 2021 onward you will be able to take up to twelve weeks of leave. The number of weeks you are entitled to will be based on the year in which you start taking leave.

What can I use paid family leave for?

You can use the time off to bond with a new child (including adopted and foster children), care for a seriously ill family member, or address certain military family needs.

You cannot use paid family leave to recover from your own serious health issue.

How much of my paycheck can I get while I am on paid family leave?

In 2019, you will receive more than half (55%) of your average weekly pay, up to about $746.41per week. In 2020, you will receive 60% of your average pay and in 2021 you will receive 67% of your pay.

Note: If your pay fluctuates from week to week, you can use your average weekly earnings from the eight weeks prior to taking leave to determine your average pay amount.

When can I take leave to bond with a new child?

You have the right to take bonding leave at any point within the first 12 months following a child’s birth or placement for adoption or foster care.

If your child has two parents, each parent (of any gender) has the right to up to ten weeks of paid family leave.

If I’m taking leave to care for a seriously ill family member, what family members can leave be taken to care for?

You can take paid family leave to care for your child, parent, parent-in-law, spouse (including a same-sex spouse), domestic partner, grandchild, or grandparent when that person has a serious health need. These needs can include a serious physical or mental illness, injury, or condition.

Will my job be protected when I’m on leave?

Yes. You have the right to return either to the same job you had before leave or a comparable job (i.e. comparable in terms of pay, seniority, benefits, shift, location, etc.). If you receive healthcare coverage through your employer, you also have the right to keep your healthcare coverage under its current conditions.

When can I begin taking paid family leave?

You are entitled to take paid family leave if you have worked for your employer for at least six months. If you work less than 20 hours per week, you may need to work for slightly longer (175 days) to qualify.

When do I need to tell my employer that I’m taking paid family leave to care for a seriously ill family member?

You need to advise your employer at least 30 days prior to taking leave. If this is not possible like in the case of a medical emergency, you must inform your employer as soon as possible.

You will also need to have you family member’s health provider fill out the paid family leave application form (Form PFL-4) certifying that your family member has a serious health issue. Your family member will also need to sign a release form (Form PFL-3) authorizing the health provider to provide his or her medical information.

What if my employer tells me they “don’t do” paid family leave?

It is against the law for your employer to not carry paid family leave insurance or to not self-insure. If your employer is breaking the law by not carrying insurance, you have the right to receive benefits through something called the Special Fund. To apply, you can submit relevant documentation to the Worker’s Compensation Board.

Note: The Special Fund may subject your employer to investigation and fines.

 

Paid family leave interacts with a few other workplace leave laws. Below is an explanation of these laws and how they differ from, and interact with, paid family leave.

Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI)

What is it and how is it different from paid family leave?

TDI gives you the right to partial wage replacement while you are unable to work due to an off-the-job illness or injury, including pregnancy-related disabilities and recovery from childbirth.

If you gave birth, you may be eligible for both TDI to recover from childbirth and paid family leave to bond with your new child. You cannot receive both benefits at the same time but if you are eligible for both TDI and paid family leave, you can choose how to combine these benefits.

  • For example, you could take 6 weeks of TDI to recover from childbirth and then take 10 weeks of paid family leave to bond with your new child.
  • Alternatively, you could also choose to take paid family leave immediately following childbirth.

It is important to note that TDI does not include job protection and does not protect your healthcare coverage. However, you may still have rights under other laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act or the pregnancy accommodation law.

Unlike paid family leave, TDI benefits are capped at a maximum of $170 per week.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

To learn more about how paid family leave interacts with the Family and Medical Leave Act, click here.

Earned Sick Time

To learn more about how paid family leave interacts with earned sick time, click here.

A couple additional notes:

  • These laws apply to you regardless of your immigration or citizenship status.
  • The information listed in this section does not constitute legal advice. It is always advisable to consult with an attorney about your individual circumstances if you have questions or think your rights as a worker have been violated. 

To learn more about your right to paid family leave, visit A Better Balance’s comprehensive paid family leave website, familyleaveworks.org.

To view the full Working Woman’s Pocket Guide, click here.

If you have questions about any of the rights discussed in this guide, we are here to help. A Better Balance's free, confidential legal helpline can help you understand your workplace rights.

Reach us at 1-833-NEED-ABB (1-833-633-3222).

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