So everyone knows that NYS implemented the Paid Family Leave Act (PFL) on January 1st. What they don’t know is how poorly constructed the law is. It is an administrative nightmare for Human Resources.

NYS employers everywhere have their counsel on speed dial. Can we do this and that? How does this law affect that law? What I’ve gathered from the last four weeks, is that PFL will benefit working mothers the most. Although times have changed immensely, there are still employers without a maternity leave policy. For a very long time, new mothers were left to run back to work 6-8 weeks after having a baby. They feared not having enough income to support their family, and worst yet – losing their jobs.

But now with PFL, mothers to-be everywhere have 2 less things to worry about – income and job security. Here’s how the law will work for eligible employees:

YearWeeks of LeaveBenefit
20188 Weeks50% of employee's AWW, up to 50% of SAWW
201910 Weeks55% of employee's AWW, up to 55% of SAWW
202010 Weeks60% of employee's AWW, up to 60% of SAWW
202112 Weeks67% of employee's AWW, up to 67% of SAWW

To be eligible for the leave you must satisfy the criteria of:

  • Full-time employees: If you work a regular work schedule of 20 or more hours per week, you are eligible after 26 consecutive weeks of employment.
  • Part-time employees: If you work a regular work schedule of less than 20 hours per week, you are eligible after working 175 days, which do not need to be consecutive.
  • You are eligible regardless of your citizenship and/or immigration status.

And you can use the leave for Bonding with a child, Caring for a sick family member, and Military Deployment.

But let’s move along to why PFL is a maternity leave win…

With PFL in place, a mother who have been with her employer 12+ months and worked 1250 hours can a) take FMLA, b) go on short term disability, and c) then take paid family leave. If the leave is planned accordingly, she can then be out of work for 20 weeks total instead of 12 weeks. No worries about income or job security!

Now lets say she’s worked less than 12 months. Is she still as lucky? Possibly. Depending on your employer, it’s often okay for mothers to take 6-8 weeks disability leave even though they may not have been employed long. So what that really means is a) 6-8 weeks short term disability and then b) 8 weeks paid family leave. How great is that? When you thought you wouldn’t have enough time to spend with your child, you now have this additional 8 weeks with job protection and some income.

Let’s thank NYS for finally making strides to meet the standards of the rest of the world.


    • Adanna

      Its definitely wonderful news. Such a huge step for women in the workplace overall. It’s even better for women looking to start a family later down the line because the benefit increases.

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