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Sheila McGarrigle
/ Categories: Benefits, Claims

Calculating the Average Weekly Wage for Benefit/Claim Purposes in 2020

October 15, 2019

PFL Woman

Paid Family Leave benefits in 2020 will be 60% of an employee’s average weekly wage (AWW), capped at 60% of the current New York State average weekly wage (NYSAWW), which is $1,401.17* in 2020.  This translates into a maximum benefit of $840.70 per week. So, when trying to estimate what your PFL benefit amount will be while out on leave you first need to know your average weekly wage.

To calculate your average weekly wage you’ll need to look at your previous 8 weeks of wages from the same employer (or if less than 8 weeks of wages with that employer is available, a portion thereof):

  1. Add up your total wages from all 8 weeks (or portion) immediately preceding Paid Family Leave
    1. to the last day worked prior to the first day of paid family leave; or
    2. excluding the week in which the paid family leave began.  Whichever is the higher amount will be used for PFL benefit calculation purposes
  1. Divide by 8 (or portion)

PFL Expert Tip:
For example, you’ve been employed at the same company for 2 years, but were out on disability for one week before taking your PFL time.  You would use your wages from the portion of time you were not out on DBL before taking Paid Family Leave to calculate your AWW.


Head spinning from all that math?  Use this tool that walks you through step-by-step, and does all the math for you!  Get your AWW and estimated weekly PFL benefit here

What forms of wages count for the AWW calculation?
Wages (for the purposes of Paid Family Leave):

  • Include any monetary compensation from your employer (for example, salary, bonuses, and commissions)
  • Include the reasonable value of board, rent, housing, lodging or similar advantage you received where such are withheld by the employer during the period of Family Leave
  • Exclude the cash value of benefits, that are not subject to New York State personal income tax (for example, a 401(k) match)
  • Paid Family Leave wages for an individual business owner are earnings subject to federal self-employment tax.


How do business owners and self-employed people with voluntary coverage calculate their AWW?

Business owners:

  • For individual business owners without employees but who have voluntary coverage, your average weekly wage is determined as follows:
    • Take the total net income in the 52 week period immediately preceding Paid Family Leave and divide those total wages by 52


Self-employed people:

  • Take your earnings subject to federal self-employment tax for the previous full calendar year and divide by 52
  • If there is not 52 weeks of self-employment income for the previous full calendar year, use the following calculation:
    • Add your wages and self-employment income for the previous calendar year and divide by 52


Curious to estimate your weekly Paid Family Leave benefit?  Use our estimator now!


Calculate Your AWW and Estimated Weekly PFL Benefit Now


ICYMI:  New York State updated the NYSAWW.  Find out what this means for Paid Family Leave benefits.

Have questions about this or any other Paid Family Leave topic?  As our PFL experts at pflquestions@shelterpoint.com.


*NY Department of Labor releases the updated NYSAWW every March 31st of the prior applicable calendar year.  Past years’ maximum benefit amounts are based on prior NYSAWWs respectively. The NYSAWW applicable to 2020 is $1,401.17= $72,860.84

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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