Press Release 

June 17, 2022 

AHEAD OF FATHER'S DAY, GOVERNOR HOCHUL ANNOUNCES RECORD NUMBER OF NEW YORK FATHERS USED NATION LEADING PAID FAMILY LEAVE PROGRAM IN 2021

Newly Available Interactive Database Shows More Workers Are Utilizing the Strongest Program in the Nation Every Year to Bond with their Children and Care for Family Members

Access the Interactive Database Here

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that a record number of workers used New York's landmark paid family leave program to bond with their children or care for a seriously ill family member in 2021. The data, released in an interactive database, shows that in the first four years of the program the overall utilization rate, number of men taking paid paternity leave every year, and the average length of time off have all increased every year. Further, paid family leave usage is highest with low- and moderate-wage workers. 

"No one should have to choose between caring for a loved one and a paycheck, and today's findings demonstrate how critical paid family leave is, especially for working-class New Yorkers," Governor Hochul said. "This Father's Day, I am especially heartened to see that men have so enthusiastically taken advantage of this benefit to care for and bond with their children and that more of them are using paid family leave every year." 

"The paid family leave program has given New York workers the flexibility to prioritize what matters most: family," Lieutenant Governor Delgado said. "As a husband and a father to two young boys, I know how critically important paid leave is when you are needed at home to care for your children or a loved one. This Father's Day, I applaud all the dads out there who have taken advantage of this critical program and encourage your continued commitment to active family involvement and participation."

In 2016, only 13 percent of workers nationwide had paid family leave. Since New York has enacted the nation leading law providing paid family leave to over 7.5 million workers, over 543,000 family leave claims have been paid in the first four years of the program, with a record high of 146,708 claims in 2021.

Department of Financial Services Superintendent Adrienne A. Harris said, "I commend Governor Hochul for positioning New York as a continued leader in paid family leave. The state's paid family leave program is critical to ensuring the financial stability of all New Yorkers, ensuring workers can take time off without negative consequences like losing a job or a substantial amount of income. The data made available today through a new public database will allow anyone to track success of the program and can be a tool for other state and federal entities to adopt similar programs."  

New York State Workers' Compensation Board Chair Clarissa M. Rodriguez said, "It's wonderful to see that paid family leave is helping New Yorkers, and especially low-income workers, who may not have otherwise had the ability to be with their loved ones in times of need. To date, more than half a million paid family leave claims have been paid to workers who need job-protected, paid time off from work, whether to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition or support family during an overseas military deployment. We're proud that New York's strong paid family leave is truly helping to build strong families."

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. said, "Since its inception, New York State's paid family leave has been instrumental in providing New Yorkers the ability to care for their loved ones without the added stress of losing critical wages or worse, their job. It is encouraging to see so many low- and moderate-wage workers taking advantage of and benefitting from New York's comprehensive program. I look forward to 2023 when my bill to expand the program even further to include sibling care goes into effect. I am grateful that Governor Hochul recognized the importance of expanding our successful program, putting New York even further ahead of the nation when it comes to giving employees an opportunity to prioritize family."

State Senator Jessica Ramos said, "New York's Paid Family Leave program is a model for the rest of the country. I hope this program's success can also be a reminder as we rebuild New York's safety net in other ways. Expansive, accessible benefits that are available to all workers in our labor force ensure that the need for care does not come in competition with the need to earn a living." 

Assemblymember Cathy Nolan said, "I thank Governor Hochul for highlighting New York's paid family leave law this Father's Day. As the main sponsor of the bill for many years in the Assembly, it is rewarding to see the positive impacts the program has had on so many of our families since its enactment, both in my district and across the state. It is my hope that, since the passage of A10224A/ S09167A, further study will provide the Governor and Legislature with the information needed to ensure paid family leave's continued expansion and success. It is critical that we increase awareness of the availability of benefits for families of all shapes and sizes, continue to work to remove barriers to access, and ensure that New Yorkers who need to be with their families at crucial times have the financial security and flexibility to do so."


Assemblymember Latoya Joyner said, "As we prepare to celebrate Father's Day, the data shows that fathers throughout New York are using our state's Family Leave Law to strengthen the bonds of family by playing a greater part in the lives of their children and providing support for their loved ones. New York's Family Leave Law is a true success story and I look forward to working with Governor Hochul as we make New York an even more attractive place to live, work and raise a family."  

Assemblymember Sandy Galef said, "Fathers are critical to the development of children and it's important they are able to bond with their newborns - or if one of their children has a condition where they need extra support, the last thing a father should be worried about is the status of his employment. On this Father's Day, I recognize the selfless caregivers that provide for the children of our state, and am proud that here in New York we offer paid family leave so these fathers can always put the needs of their families first."

A Better Balance Co-Founder and Co-President Sherry Leiwant said, "A Better Balance applauds the New York Department of Financial Services and the Workers' Compensation Board for gathering and releasing detailed data on the use of New York's groundbreaking paid family leave program. This data is critical for our state to fully understand the wide-ranging impact of the paid family leave program. The news that usage has only continued to grow and that the program is benefitting low- and moderate-income New Yorkers demonstrates the importance of paid family leave for New York families. The news that fathers as well as mothers are taking advantage of the program is fantastic news for children and families throughout the state and for the goal we all share of strong families and gender equity." 

President and CEO of Community Service Society of New York David R. Jones said, "As one of the early advocates of paid family leave it is exciting to see that utilization of paid family leave has been increasing since its inception. By making it easier for parents to bond with their newborn or to care for another family member, the paid family leave is helping employees manage work and caregiving responsibilities better and making them more productive. CSS looks forward to working with the state to continue increasing awareness of this benefit."

Key findings from the data include:

  • The number of claims paid has increased each year of the program, excluding a slight drop in 2020, likely attributed to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. New York's paid family leave utilization rate (the percent of covered workers who used the benefit in a given year) has steadily grown each year from 1.65 percent in 2018, to 1.85 percent in 2019, 1.86 percent in 2020, and 1.91 percent in 2021.
  • The benefit is most often used by parents to take time to care for and bond with a newly born, adopted, or fostered child, with 83,500 claims in 2018; 101,700 in 2019; 98,700 in 2020; and 105,900 in 2021. 
  • More men are taking paternity leave every year to care for and bond with their children. The percent of paid family leave claims to bond with a child taken by men has increased every year:  30.7 percent (25,674 claims) in 2018; 33.2 percent (33,732 claims) in 2019; 36.3 percent (35,860 claims) in 2020; and 38.2 percent (40,477 claims) in 2021.
  • More people are caring for seriously ill family members. 27.8 percent of claims were from New Yorkers taking paid time off to care for a seriously ill family member, and most commonly, to take time to care for a sick parent.
  • The average time-off taken has increased each year from 5.5 weeks in 2018 to 7.7 weeks in 2021.
  • Paid family leave usage was highest with low- and moderate-wage workers. The highest usage rates in 2018, 2019, and 2020 were for workers earning less than $40,000 annually (38,005, 41,752, and 34,953 claims respectively) and in 2021 the highest usage was from workers with annual incomes between $40,000 and $60,000 (34,517 claims).

Further, the report showcases New York State workers in every region of New York have taken advantage of this nation-leading benefit. Claims by region in 2021 include: 

  • New York City (44,203)
  • Long Island (21,516)
  • Mid-Hudson (15,172)
  • Western NY (13,115)
  • Finger Lakes (11,446)
  • Capital Region (8,862)
  • Central NY (5,474)
  • Southern Tier (4,257)
  • Mohawk Valley (3,531)
  • North Country (2,727)
  • Unspecified or Out-of-State (16,639)

In effect since 2018, New York's paid family leave program is employee-paid insurance that provides workers with job-protected, paid time off to bond with a newly born, adopted or fostered child, care for a family member with a serious health condition (which may include severe cases of COVID-19), or assist loved ones when a member of the family is deployed abroad on active military service. 

In 2021, Governor Hochul signed legislation expanding the benefit to allow New Yorkers to take paid time to care for a seriously ill sibling. This new benefit takes effect in 2023.

paid family leave may also be available in some situations when an employee or their minor, dependent child is under an order of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Eligible workers may take up to 12 weeks off at 67 percent of their pay (up to a cap) in times of need.   

For complete details on the New York State paid family leave program including how to apply for leave, visit PaidFamilyLeave.ny.gov.

To access the DFS interactive database on New York State paid family leave utilization, visit here.

###