New York unveils first U.S. paid prenatal leave


COVID-19 paid sick leave ending

Beginning January 1, 2025, employers with employees in New York will need to allow them to take paid time off for prenatal care under the country's first such leave law. The provision was included in the state's 2025 budget which amended the state's paid sick leave law.

How much prenatal leave?

Employees may take 20 hours of paid prenatal leave during any 52-week calendar period. These 20 hours are a separate leave bank from the state's paid sick leave. Therefore, employees may take the 20 hours of leave on top of the current 40 or 56 hours of paid sick leave (depending on employer size). It is also in addition to the paid family leave.

The amendment does not restrict the number of times employees may take paid prenatal leave, other than the limit of 20 hours in a 52-week period. As far as timing and pay go:

  • Employees may take paid prenatal leave in hourly increments.
  • Employers must pay the benefits in hourly installments.

It is not clear whether the new leave is accrued, and whether employees may take it immediately upon hire.

What are reasons for prenatal leave?

Employees may take the prenatal leave for health care services they receive during their pregnancy or related conditions, including:

  • Physical examinations,
  • Medical procedures,
  • Monitoring and testing, and
  • Discussions with a health care provider related to the pregnancy.

No payout after separation

Employers are not required to pay employees for unused paid prenatal leave upon termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment.

The end of COVID-19 paid sick leave

Another part of the budget ends the New York COVID-19 paid leave, but not until July 31, 2025. This law is no longer needed since the COVID-19 state of emergency has ended and quarantine requirements have changed. The quarantine changes render the eligibility criteria of the COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Law hazy.

This article was written by Darlene M. Clabault, SHRM-CP, PHR, CLMS, of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. The content of these news items, in whole or in part, MAY NOT be copied into any other uses without consulting the originator of the content.


The J. J. Keller LEAVE MANAGER service is your business resource for tracking employee leave and ensuring compliance with the latest Federal and State FMLA and leave requirements.