New York State Paid Family Leave Law

Beginning January 1, 2018, New York State’s Paid Family Leave Law (PFL) will provide family leave benefits to eligible employees through a small employee payroll deduction. You will be able to take a job-protected paid family leave:

  • To bond with a child during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption or fostering of a child;
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition; or
  • For qualifying exigencies arising out of a family member’s covered active duty in the military.

Eligibility Information

Columbia University employees working within New York State who regularly work 20 hours or more per week, become eligible after 26 consecutive weeks; or regularly work less than 20 hours per week, after 175 days worked. Therefore, full-time, part-time and temporary employees can become eligible for PFL as long as they satisfy these requirements. This may include Officers of Research, Officers of the Libraries, Officers of Administration, Student Officers, Federal Work-Study, Support Staff and Student Casuals.

Calculation of Payroll Withholding

New York State specified that the Paid Family Leave program will be funded through a new employee payroll deduction. Payroll deductions are calculated at 0.126% of an employee's annual wage for the calendar year up to and not exceeding 0.126% of the annualized statewide average weekly wage. For the calendar year 2018, the annualized statewide average weekly wage is $67,908, which means that the maximum total premium to be charged to an employee for paid family leave coverage in 2018 in $85.56.

Therefore, an employee's PFL payroll calculation will be made by taking 0.126% of an employee's gross wages per-paycheck (gross wages include overtime and additional compensation). Payroll contributions from the employee will stop once he or she contributes $85.56 in PFL premiums for 2018.

For examples on how the PFL withholdings are calculated, visit the Calculation of PFL Payroll Withholding page. To estimate your PFL deduction, you can use New York State's Weekly Payroll Deduction Calculator.

Additional Highlights

  • If the employee seeks PFL for a reason that is also covered by FMLA, PFL and FMLA benefits will run concurrently.
  • Eligible employees will continue their University-provided health insurance, when applicable. Employees will pay their regular share of the premiums during the leave.
  • Eligible employees will have the right to return to their same or comparable job upon return from PFL.
  • Citizenship and immigration status do not impact eligibility.
  • Eligible employees may choose to use accrued but unused vacation/personal/NYC Earned Sick Time to receive a full salary while on paid family leave, in lieu of the paid family leave benefit. Vacation/personal/NYC Earned Sick Time must be used in full-day increments and will be deducted from the employee’s absence balances.

The PFL Benefit

PFL benefits will be phased in starting in January 2018 and will be fully implemented in 2021.  For 2018, eligible employees may receive up to 8 weeks of paid family leave within a 52-week calendar period at 50% of their average weekly wage, capped at 50% of the New York State’s Average Weekly Wage (NYSAWW). The amount of paid family leave benefits will be phased in as follows:


Paid Family Leave Benefits Phase-In

Effective DateMaximum Benefit within 52-Week PeriodPaid Family Leave Benefit
January 1, 20188 Weeks50% of the employee’s average weekly wage or 50% of the state average weekly wage*, whichever is less
January 1, 201910 Weeks55% of the employee’s average weekly wage or 55% of the state average weekly wage*, whichever is less
January 1, 202010 Weeks60% of the employee’s average weekly wage or 60% of the state average weekly wage*, whichever is less
January 1, 202112 Weeks67% of the employee’s average weekly wage or 67% of the state average weekly wage*, whichever is less

*The 2018 State Average Weekly Wage is $1,305.92


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

For more information, review our Frequently Asked Questions or New York State’s website at

In addition, please review the University's PFL policy in the Administrative Policy Library.

If you have any other questions, please contact the CUHR Leave Management Office at