As we finish our four-year phase in of New York State's landmark Paid Family Leave, there are exciting updates to share! In 2021, Paid Family Leave benefits have been significantly enhanced to further improve the lives of working New Yorkers and their families.
More time off.
In 2021, eligible employees will have access to up to 12 weeks of job protected, paid time off to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or to assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service. This time can be taken all at once, or in increments of full days.
In addition to the above uses, a law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in April 2020 guarantees workers job protection and financial compensation in the event they, or their minor dependent child, are under an order of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. In these situations, Paid Family Leave may be available for use. See the COVID-19 quarantine leave page for full details.
More financial security.
The Paid Family Leave wage replacement benefit is also increasing. In 2021, employees taking Paid Family Leave will receive 67% of their average weekly wage, up to a cap of 67% of the current Statewide Average Weekly Wage of $1,450.17. The maximum weekly benefit for 2021 is $971.61.
|Worker's Average Weekly Wage||Weekly PFL Benefit (2021)*|
*The weekly PFL benefit is capped at 67% of the New York State average weekly wage, which is $971.61.
Same strong protections.
Employees can take leave to care for their family members knowing New York has their backs. With some of the nation’s strongest worker protections, New York Paid Family Leave guarantees that:
- Employees have job protection, ensuring they can return to the same job (or a comparable one) when they return from Paid Family Leave.
- Employees can keep their health insurance while on leave on the same terms they had while working.
- Employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against employees for requesting or taking Paid Family Leave.
And as New York continues to look out for some of our most vulnerable workers, citizenship is never a factor in eligibility for New York Paid Family Leave.
Fully funded by employees.
New York Paid Family Leave is insurance that may be funded by employees through payroll deductions. In 2021, the contribution is 0.511% of an employee’s gross wages each pay period. The maximum annual contribution is $385.34.
Employees earning less than the current Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) of $1,450.17 will contribute less than the annual cap of $385.34, consistent with their actual wages.
Here are some contribution and benefit examples at different income levels:
- Employees earning $519 a week (about $27,000 a year) will pay about $2.65 per week: $519 x 0.511%. When taking the benefit, these employees will receive $347.73 per week, up to a maximum total benefit of $4,172.76.
- Employees earning $1,000 a week ($52,000 a year) will pay $5.11 per week: $1,000 x 0.511%. When taking the benefit, these employees will receive $670 per week, up to a maximum total benefit of $8,040.
- Employees earning the SAWW of $1,450.17 ($75,408 a year) or more will pay 0.511% x their gross wages each pay period until they reach the maximum of $385.34. When taking the benefit, these employees will receive $971.61 per week, up to a maximum total benefit of $11,659.32.
For more information or assistance on Paid Family Leave for 2021, check out the frequently asked questions and employer resources, below. You can also call the Paid Family Leave Helpline at 844.337.6303 from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many weeks of Paid Family Leave are available to employees in 2021?
Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave in 2021.
How much will employees get paid when taking Paid Family Leave in 2021?
Employees taking Paid Family Leave will get 67% of their average weekly wage, up to a cap of 67% of the current Statewide Average Weekly Wage of $1,450.17.
What is the maximum weekly benefit in 2021?
The maximum weekly benefit for 2021 is $971.61.
If I start my continuous leave in 2020, and it extends into 2021, am I eligible for the benefits at the 2021 rate?
You get the benefit rate in effect on the first day of your leave.
If I start my intermittent leave in 2020, and it extends into 2021, am I eligible for the benefits at the 2021 rate?
You get the benefit rate in effect on the first day of a period of leave. When more than three months passes between days of Paid Family Leave, your next day or period of Paid Family Leave is considered a new claim under the law. This means you will need to file a new Request for Paid Family Leave and that you may be eligible for the increased benefits available should this day or period of Paid Family Leave begin in 2021.
I am having a new baby in the fall of 2020. Can I wait until 2021 to take Paid Family Leave to get the enhanced benefits?
Yes, you can take (and must complete) Paid Family Leave for bonding with a new child at any time within the first 12 months of the child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement, provided that you remain an eligible, covered employee.
I used all 10 weeks of Paid Family Leave in 2020. Can I take more Paid Family Leave in 2021 if I experience another qualifying event?
You may be eligible for an additional two weeks of Paid Family Leave in 2021 if you experience a new qualifying event or if more than three months has passed since the last day of leave on your original Paid Family Leave claim.
What is the weekly employee contribution rate for 2021?
If you are paid weekly, the 2021 payroll contribution is 0.511% of your gross weekly wages and is capped at an annual maximum of $385.34. If your gross weekly wages are less than the New York State Average Weekly Wage ($1,450.17 per week), you will have an annual contribution amount less than the annual cap of $385.34, consistent with your actual wages.
For example, in 2021, if you earn about $27,000 a year ($519 a week), you will pay about $2.65 per week.
If you are not paid weekly, the payroll contribution will be 0.511% of your gross wages for the pay period.
What is the maximum amount employees will pay for Paid Family Leave in 2021?
The maximum employee contribution for 2021 is $385.34.
Why did the contribution amount change?
Each year, the Department of Financial Services sets the employee contribution rate to match the cost of coverage. With 2021 Paid Family Leave benefits increasing to 12 weeks off at 67% of pay, as well as high utilization of the benefit, the cost of coverage has risen, which the new contribution rate reflects.
When can employers start taking deductions at the new rate?
Employers may start taking deductions at the 2021 rate on January 1, 2021.
On March 31, 2020, New York updated the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW). When does this SAWW take effect for Paid Family Leave deduction and benefit caps?
The new SAWW only applies to the 2021 benefit and will not affect Paid Family Leave deductions or benefits until January 1, 2021, if leave was begun on or after that date. The new SAWW does not have any impact on Paid Family Leave benefits in 2020.
What is the Statewide Average Weekly Wage that will be used for Paid Family Leave in 2021?
The Statewide Average Weekly Wage for Paid Family Leave in 2020 is $1,450.17.
There are several resources to help employers understand and communicate 2021 NY Paid Family Leave benefit updates to their employees.