Policy Resource

Success for Paid Family Leave Advocates in New York State and San Francisco

Sep 20, 2016

2016 saw huge victories for families in New York State and San Francisco, CA when both passed paid family leave (PFL) laws.

New York was the fourth state in the country to guarantee PFL to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill family member. The program went into effect on January 1, 2018, initially covering 50% of a worker’s average wages (up to a cap) for up to eight weeks. That will increase to 67% of a worker’s wages for up to 12 weeks in 2021 – twice the amount of time currently covered by other states. New York’s PFL program is funded by an employee payroll deduction. ZERO TO THREE helped advocates in New York make the case for PFL by developing a fact sheet that was used to educate policymakers and the public.

San Francisco’s new PFL measure was designed to complement California’s existing policy, which currently provides workers with 60-70% (depending on income) of their wages for up to six weeks of PFL. The city ordinance requires businesses with more than 20 employees to fill that gap by paying the remaining 45% of their employees’ wages. Both full- and part-time workers are eligible. Since California’s PFL law was enacted in 2004, higher income workers have been most likely to take advantage of it. San Francisco policymakers hope their action will make PFL more accessible to lower wage workers.

Learn more about PFL on the ZERO TO THREE website.

Reviewed April 2018.

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