New York Paid Family Leave
Lessons from a Unique Program
- New York, unlike other states with paid family leave programs, uses a private insurance model to administer benefits.
- Small businesses are largely adapting to the program, and a survey found that over half express support of it.
- While this program design has administrative advantages in New York, it may not work as well in other states or as a national program.
- We need more data. The state of New York has not made available sufficient data to truly evaluate the program model. More data are needed to ensure the program’s success and inform state and federal policymakers.
- The cost of the paid leave program, paid by New York’s workers, has increased sharply, creating uncertainty about long-term financial viability.
In 2016, New York enacted a paid family leave law providing qualified employees access to partial wage replacement while taking time off work to bond with a child, care for a family member, or assist loved ones when a family member is called to active military service. Since then, six other states, including the District of Columbia, have enacted their own programs, bringing the total number of states with paid family leave to 10. All 10 programs are distinct, but the structure of New York’s program is unique in its reliance on private insurers to administer benefits. As other states and federal policymakers consider enacting paid family leave programs, it is important to evaluate the success and impact of existing programs.
This issue brief looks at the New York model, which has now been in effect for four years. We provide an overview of New York’s paid family leave program, describe how its structure differs from all other state programs, and outline some preliminary takeaways for federal and state lawmakers to consider.
Analysis on the effects and the efficacy of New York’s model remains limited. Our analysis was constrained by a lack of data that we recommend New York — as well as all other states with paid family leave programs — immediately address.
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