Policy Resource

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

Sep 20, 2016

Families in New York State and San Francisco, CA saw huge victories 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, assist loved ones when an immediate family member is deployed on active military service, 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. Since 2019, workers can take up to 10 weeks of PFL. In 2019, New York’s PFL policy covered 55% of a worker’s average wages; it covers 60% of average wages in 2020. In 2021, New York’s PFL policy will cover 67% of a worker’s wages for up to 12 weeks. 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 to educate policymakers and the public.

San Francisco’s PFL measure was designed to complement California’s existing policy which currently provides workers with eight weeks of paid leave while guaranteeing 60-70% of their wages depending on their income. The city ordinance ensures employees receive 100% of their income by requiring businesses with more than 20 employees to pay the remaining 30-40% of their employees’ wages. Starting July 1, 2020, employees are entitled to up to eight weeks of PFL. 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 by guaranteeing 100% of employees’ incomes during paid leave PFL will become more accessible to lower wage workers.

Updated July 2020

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