PAID FAMILY LEAVE: Gaining Traction in New York and Beyond.


The New York Paid Family Leave Program Evolution

* State-mandated Paid Family Leave (PFL) took effect in New York in 2018, providing eligible employees with job-protected, partially paid time off to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill family member, or attend to family matters due to a military exigency. The program gradually phased in over a four-year period, starting with benefits set at 50% of an employee's average weekly wage (AWW), capped at 50% of the NY State Average Weekly Wage (NYSAWW). The maximum amount of leave in 2018 was 8 weeks.

By comparison, at the end of the phase-in period in 2021, the maximum leave duration reached 12 weeks, with benefits set at 67% of an employee's AWW, capped at 67% of the NYSAWW. While the benefit is expected to remain at this percentage level, the cap can change every year since it is based on the NYSAWW. And New York can, of course, make enhancements to the program any time, such as COVID-related benefits 2 years ago and the addition of siblings as qualifying family members for leaves starting on or after January 1, 2023.

While PFL is governed by the State, the coverage in New York is primarily provided by private insurance carriers in a unique public-private partnership. Notably, when tailoring their program for their predominantly small business communities, New York didn't require employer contributions for Paid Family Leave benefits--consequential in a state where small shops make up 99.8% of all New York businesses.1


As New York's largest Disability Benefits Law (DBL) carrier2, ShelterPoint3 recognized soon enough that the introduction of PFL would present a major change in NY's insurance landscape with uncertainty and disruption for carriers, brokers, and employers alike.

In this midst of this backdrop, Shelter Point played a significant role in preparing New York for Paid Family Leave. It worked closely with the insurance and regulatory community to help make the public-private partnership successful and provided New Yorkers with a wealth of easy-to-understand resources on the road to PFL--such as an independent, educational Paid Family Leave microsite (fully stocked with educational resources), as well as expert panels and webinars. Let's not forget: New York insurance brokers and agents also played an important role in keeping their clients informed of the new requirements and deadlines.


An inside look at ShelterPoint claims data suggests that overall PFL utilization has been steadily growing, with an almost 42% growth in NY PFL claims overall since the inception of this program (not including any COVID-related quarantine claims and adjusted for growth in covered lives during that period--the same adjustments are consistently applied to other numbers referenced in this article.)4. This was not unforeseen since the program was designed to roll out over 4 years, and a steady adoption during the phase-in period was anticipated. Utilization as well as adoption...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT