That's right, fathers in New York State can indeed take paid 'maternity' leave, but it's called bonding leave. The state has pretty robust family leave protections. Most recently, Governor Hochul signed a law that allows residents to take paid leave to care for a sick sibling.

New York Paid Family Leave For Newborn Bonding

Paid and job-protected bonding leave can be utilized by fathers, including those in same-sex unions. It allows dads and moms) to bond with their newborn within the first year of the child’s birth.

- Bonding leave can only be used after the child is born, not before.
- Paid Family Leave benefits can be used for bonding with biological newborns, or newly adopted or foster children
- If the parents work for the same company, they can take leave at the same time, unless the employer has an issue with it.
- The employer's insurance company will receive and process the request for leave.

Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Unsplash
Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Unsplash

Eligible fathers may be able to take up to 12 weeks of time off to bond. Paid Family Leave will pay 67 percent of a dad's pay (there is a cap). There is an online calculator that will give an estimate of Paid Family Leave benefits.

Here's what dads need to know about taking bonding leave:

1. The 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave can be taken all at once or spaced out, but it must be taken in full workday increments.

2. An employer should be notified of planned leave 30 days prior to the leave being taken, whenever reasonably possible.

3. Dads with two jobs can take Paid Family Leave from both jobs, but it must be taken at the same time.

The maximum number of leave days you can take is based on the average number of days you work per week. For example, if you work an average of three days per week, you can take a maximum of 36 days of Paid Family Leave (3 days x 12 weeks). If you take intermittent leave and more than three months pass between days of Paid Family Leave, your next day or period of PFL is considered a new claim under the law. This means you will need to submit a new Request for Paid Family Leave.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

What Fathers Need In Order To Apply For Paid Family Leave

Once you are ready to begin the process, you can get the forms (Form PFL-1 and Form PFL-2) from your employer, their insurance company, or download it online.

Other documentation needed includes,

A copy of the child’s birth certificate, if available, naming you as the second parent, a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (Form LDSS-4418), or a Court Order of Filiation.
Same documentation as birth mother and a second document verifying the relationship to the birth mother (for example, marriage certificate, civil union, or domestic partner document).

The completed forms and documentation must be submitted to your employer's insurance provider within 30 days of the start of your leave or they could deny your benefits. You can search here to find your employer's insurance company.

The Paid Family Leave hotline number is (844) 337-6303 and you can visit the website for more details.

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