NY Paid Family Leave: Spotlight on Small Businesses

February 20, 2018
Now that New York's PFL program is underway, what challenges and advantages can the state's small employers expect?

Seventy percent of the nation's small businesses support paid family leave.1 Now that New York's program is underway, what challenges and advantages can the state's small employers expect?

5 Questions and Answers for Small Businesses

70% of small businesses with 2 – 99 employees support paid family leave.1

50% of the nation’s private sector labor force is employed by small businesses — those that employ less than 500 people and earn less than $7.5 million in annual revenue.2

1. Are any businesses too small to fit PFL requirements? New York's Paid Leave program applies to most private employers, regardless of size. Employers who provide DBL must also provide PFL. Independent contractors aren't included, but they may pay for their own coverage.

2. How does PFL affect day-to-day operations for small businesses? Small businesses who prepared well in 2017 probably aren't seeing dramatic changes.

Replacement staffing may be a challenge for some. Whether an employee is out on PFL for eight weeks or a few days, managing the workload can add stress and costs. This is especially true for business with only a handful of employees.

Other potential impacts include:

  • Confusion around how PFL interacts with the Family Medical Leave Act
  • Challenges with staffing when employees take intermittent leave
  • Replacement staffing costs that may affect other spending

3. What future changes can small businesses expect? As PFL rolls out during the next three years, employers need to plan for yearly rate and benefit changes. There may also be future increases in the overall amount employers pay for disability insurance. On the plus side:

  • Employee contributions will continue to cover PFL premiums and fund benefits.
  • The extended rollout of PFL allows time to make adjustments.

Productivity Report

California's Paid Family Leave policy has been in effect for more than 10 years.

90% percent of employers surveyed reported it's had a positive effect or no noticeable effect on productivity and morale.3

4. Does PFL offer advantages for small businesses? Yes. Potential benefits of PFL include:

  • Reduced employee turnover
  • Higher morale and loyalty
  • Increased productivity

5. How can small employers stay up to speed on PFL regulations? Over time, New York will likely provide more details about how to administer PFL. Look to The Standard as a resource. We’re here to help you stay current on new rulings and best practices.


To find out more about PFL and other regulations that affect employees, follow The Standard on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter with the hashtag #PaidFamilyLeave, and subscribe to this blog's RSS feed to receive updated content as new information becomes available.

For more details about New York Paid Family Leave, visit: ny.gov/programs/new-york-state-paid-family-leave.


1 new.smallbusinessmajority.org/our-research/workforce/small-businesses-support-paid-family-leave-programs


3 edd.ca.gov/Disability/pdf/PFL_Economic_and_Social_Impact_Study.pdf

PFL Administration / New York / Demographic Perspectives