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New York State Paid Family Leave versus Federal Family Medical Leave Act: How are they Similar, How are they Different, and Who Really Cares?

Since January, most employers in New York are required to provide employees with Paid Family Leave.  This new state law, however, did not change employers’ obligations under the Federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  Thus, employers are left wondering what the similarities and differences are between the laws.  Here is a helpful chart:



NY Paid Family Leave



Time Off

Time Off

Reason for Leave

Both laws allow for:

Bonding with a child;

Caring for a sick family member;

Assisting family member when a service member is deployed abroad

Job Protection

Both laws provide the employee job protection while out on leave

Health Insurance

Both laws provide the employee continued health insurance coverage at no additional cost



NY Paid Family Leave





Coverage (i.e. which employers are covered by the law)

All private employers;

Public employers may opt in;

Applies to employers with one or more employees in any calendar year

Public and private employers;

Applies to employers with 50 or more employees in a 75 mile radius

Eligibility (i.e. what criteria does the employee have to meet to be eligible for leave)

After 26 consecutive weeks of employment if regularly working 20 or more hours per week;

After 175 days worked if regularly working less than 20 hours per week.

After 12 months of employment and

1250 hours of work in the 12 month period preceding the leave

Reason for Leave

Employees cannot use for own serious health condition;

Can be used to care for a child of any age

Employee can use for own serious health condition;

Can only be used to care for a child if the child is under 18 years old, or “incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability

Length of Leave

Can only be taken in full day increments

Can be taken on an hourly basis

Paid Time Off

Employers cannot require employees use paid time off while on Paid Family Leave

Employer can require employee to use paid time off while on FMLA

Employers can run Paid Family Leave (PFL) concurrently with designated FMLA when the reason for leave qualifies under both PFL and FMLA.  Eligible employees must then apply for both PFL and FMLA. 

Leave administration in New York and many other states can be complicated due to various local, state, and federal laws that all allow leave for similar reasons.  Employers should ensure they are determining all of the applicable leaves that may be implicated when an employee requests a leave of absence. 

Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with state and federal employment and leave laws.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.454.0560.