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Stephanie Haber
/ Categories: Benefits, Bonding Leave

Top 3 Must See - Q&A on PFL For Bonding

Feburary 27, 2018
edited: 09/26/19

PFL waitress

In our latest installment of our monthly series, “Top 3 Must See,” we’re answering real questions submitted by you – our readers - about how Moms and Dads can use Paid Family Leave for bonding with their new child.

1. How long is bonding leave with PFL? What does it cover?

Paid Family Leave allows eligible employees to take up to 8 weeks of paid leave in 2018. This amount will gradually increase over the next four years until it reaches 12 weeks of leave in 2021. You can see the plan in the chart below.

Benefit Stage Effective Date*

Maximum Length of Paid Leave*

Weekly leave

Intermittent leave


8 weeks

56 days


10 weeks

60 days


10 weeks

60 days


12 weeks

60 days

*While this is the anticipated phase-in schedule, New York State may delay increases at its discretion.

Something unique about NY’s Paid Family Leave is that there is flexibility in how the benefit can be taken.  Meaning, you can use your 8 weeks all at once, break it up into smaller chunks, or even just use one day at a time.  Learn more about how that works here.

Both new moms and new dads can take Paid Family Leave to bond with their new child after birth, adoption, or after a foster child is placed in your care. You can take PFL anytime in the 52consecutive weeks from the child’s birth, or from their day of placement.

You can also use Paid Family Leave for events related to foster care placement or adoption before the actual date if the absence is a required part of the process. This could include counseling sessions, court appearances, consulting with lawyers or doctors, and traveling to complete the adoption.  If you take advantage of this option, keep in mind that your 52-week benefit period starts on the first day of leave prior to adoption/foster inception!

Learn more about PFL for Bonding.


2. How does maternity/paternity leave work with both PFL and DBL?

Paid Family Leave and NY’s statutory short-term disability (DBL) are not maternity/paternity leave.  While PFL can be used by both new moms and new dads, DBL is something only available to the new mom giving birth to the baby.  Paid Family Leave was added to DBL as a rider, so those two benefits do go hand-in-hand.  Let’s dig into this in more detail:

DBL is considered “pregnancy disability leave” and can only be used for the employee’s “disability,” whereas Paid Family Leave is for bonding. So an expecting mother could use DBL before the baby is born if her doctor requires it (such as bed rest), or after the baby is born while she is recovering from the birth. Once the baby arrives, the mother then has three choices:

  1. Use all or some of her DBL, then transfer to PFL.
  2. Only use PFL, and no DBL at all – an option that works better for some because the DBL benefit is much lower than Paid Family Leave.
  3. Taking all or some DBL time, then spacing out her PFL time using single days or short, intermittent periods of time throughout baby’s first year.

DBL and PFL cannot be taken at the same time. If you decide to use both, you will have to use them consecutively. You will only be covered for up to 26 weeks in a 52-week period with PFL and DBL combined.

Learn more about how DBL and PFL compare.


3. If a couple is expecting a child, can they both take PFL? Can they take it at the same time, or does it have to be taken at different times?

If a couple is expecting a child, and they both are eligible for PFL, yes, they can both take PFL for bonding. If they work for different companies, they can both take leave at the same time, take it consecutively, or find an alternating pattern that works best for them.   

For example, Mom could take off Fridays and Dad Mondays, leaving only 3 days a week for other child care arrangements.

If both parents work for the same company, it will be up to the employer to decide if they will allow the couple to take Paid Family Leave at the same time, or if they prefer the couple to take it consecutively. If you fall into this category, check with your employer to see how they intend to handle such cases so you can plan accordingly.


Have questions about PFL for bonding, or other Paid Family Leave topics? Ask our PFL experts at pflquestions@shelterpoint.com.



This blog post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal counsel. Please consult with an appropriate professional for legal and compliance advice. Any PFL information is as of the blog post’s date stamp; it is based on the applicable statutes and regulation,  and may change as regulations evolve or NY State issues guidance regarding Paid Family Leave regulations. Have more questions? Email us at pflquestions@shelterpoint.com

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