New York Paid Family Leave Update

All of our clients have been under a new New York state mandate since January 2018 to provide coverage for Paid Family Leave, usually via a supplement to their New York Disability policy.

As of January 1, 2019, the number of weeks eligible employees can take to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service increased to 10 weeks. 

The Paid Family Leave wage replacement benefit has also increased. In 2019, employees taking Paid Family Leave will receive 55% of their average weekly wage, up to a cap of 55% of the current Statewide Average Weekly Wage of $1,357.11. The maximum weekly benefit for 2019 is $746.41. The contribution deducted from payroll is .153% for $107.97 maximum per year. These change from 2018 when the contribution was calculated as .126% for a max of $85.56 per year, the benefit was 50% of the Average Weekly Wage of $1305.92, for 8 weeks maximum. The increase in the premium percentage is meant to compensate for the increase in duration of 2 weeks. We have no information on the inflows and outflows of the program for 2018.

Additionally, Governor Cuomo recently signed legislation to expand the Paid Family Leave Law’s definition of “serious health condition” to explicitly include preparation for and recovery from surgery related to organ or tissue donation, ensuring those who donate can be cared for by their eligible family members under New York Paid Family Leave. That law takes effect on February 3, 2019.  For more information on New York Paid Family Leave see

Shelterpoint, one of the largest providers of NY DBL and PFL coverage, broke down its claims experience for 2018. The average duration of a claim was6 weeks, under the 8 week maximum. 76.7% of leaves were for Bonding with a new child, 23.2 for Caregiving, and .1% for Military. Of the Bonding claims 72% were for the mother, with an average duration of 7 weeks. Father claims lasted 4.5 weeks on average. 73% of Caregiver claims were by women, for an average of 4 weeks. The men also averaged 4 weeks. See That claims are not being maxed out bodes well for the sustainability of the program. 

Hillary Clinton proposed a national family leave plan in her 2016 campaign. Gillibrand has proposed a national plan similar to NY’s, a bill sponsored by fellow 2020 candidates Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris.Republicans have proposed family leave plans funded by withdrawal of future social security benefits, Republican Sens. Marco Rubio, Joni Ernst, Mike Lee and Bill Cassidy have all announced paid parental-leave proposals in the last two years. Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter and senior adviser, has also made it one of her chief priorities while serving in the White House.

The NY program increases in duration and benefit for another 2 years before leveling off. We will see more activity on this front.