Maternity and paternity leave are joyful times for parents to step away from hectic careers and keep their focus entirely on their new little one at home. An important bonding time for parents and children, those early months are crucial for optimal growth and development for the whole family.
Thankfully, parental leave policies have come a long way in recent years, with many private employers offering generous time-off packages and many states—as well as the federal government—enacting parental leave laws that ensure families can take time off without penalty.
New York is one state that is leading the way with parental leave laws that go above and beyond what many states offer to families of newborns or new adopted babies. Urban parents speak highly of New York City parental leave policies, reflecting the city’s wealth of urban professionals who opt to take maternity or paternity leave.
For those wondering about maternity leave New York and paternity leave New York, we’ve put together this guide to the various options that are available.
In this article:
- What is parental leave?
- What is the FMLA?
- What are the options for parental leave in New York?
- What else do I need to know?
- What is parental leave?
People tend to assume parental leave is one overarching term for time off with a new baby. However, in legal terms, parental leave has two parts:
- The time you take off while you are unable to work due to pregnancy and the physical experience of childbirth. This is also known as pregnancy disability leave.
- The time you take off to spend with your new biological, adopted, or foster child.
There are both federal and state laws pertaining to parental leave, and it is helpful to understand both before planning your New York City parental leave.
What is the FMLA?
At the federal level, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 provides all eligible employees the right to take unpaid time off to bond with a new child—and it can be a biological, adopted, or foster child, as part of a total 12-week FMLA annual leave entitlement. As an example, if you use two weeks of FMLA leave during your pregnancy, you will have 10 weeks left to use for parenting leave.
Both mothers and fathers are covered under this law as follows:
- A mother can use 12 weeks of FMLA leave for the birth of a child, for prenatal care and incapacity related to pregnancy, and for her own serious health condition following the birth of a child.
- A father can use FMLA leave for the birth of a child and to care for his spouse who is incapacitated (due to pregnancy or child birth).
Remember that taking this time off under FMLA is unpaid time off.
What are the options for parental leave in New York?
Let’s go back to the two types of leave: New Yorkers who take the first part, pregnancy disability leave, benefit from living in one of only a few states that give employees the right to this time off—and ensure that it will be paid through insurance. For the second part, leave to spend time with your new baby, New Yorkers are covered under FMLA for unpaid leave and for paid leave under New York’s Paid Family Leave Law.
Enacted in 2018, New York’s Paid Family Leave Law offers up to three months of job-protected paid leave. Nearly all New York employees qualify, and employers must grant their employees paid family leave.
Here are some additional details on New York’s Paid Family Leave Law:
- New York parents have the right to take off up to 12 weeks of work and receive 67% of their weekly wages.
- Employers can allow employees to take vacation or sick leave so that they can earn a full salary during this time off—but employers cannot require employees to take vacation or sick leave for paid family leave.
- You are eligible for paid family leave after 26 weeks of employment if you work at least 20 hours per week, or, if you work fewer than 20 hours per week, after you have worked 175 days.
- Employers cannot fire or demote employees for taking paid family leave under state law, and they cannot terminate health insurance for employees who take paid family leave. Employers may, however, deduct up to 0.126% more of an employee’s paycheck to cover health insurance during paid family leave.
New York’s Paid Family Leave Law also goes beyond maternity and paternity care. It can also be used to care for any family members who have a serious illness.
What else do I need to know?
In addition to federal and New York State laws, individual employers in New York may have additional policies and procedures around family leave that could add to the time you can spend bonding with your newest family member. Be sure to check with your manager or human resources department to find out what you are eligible for and what you must do before planning your time off.
At Loop, we want you to enjoy your maternity or paternity leave without worrying about what kind of gear you might need to keep baby clothed, fed, bathed, and happily sleeping. We have a full line of baby products for rent that can help you save time, money, space, and stress—and allow you to take full advantage of your parental leave time to fall in love with your baby.