Prenatal Leave? COVID Leave? A New York State of Mind.

by Shelby Felton, Esq. - Director and Product Compliance Counsel

May 08, 2024


With the State of New York's passage of the 2025 budget bill (S 8305-C, Part M) on April 20, 2025, New York becomes the first state to pass a stand-alone law specifically requiring that employers provide employees with paid prenatal leave.

Starting January 1, 2025, NY is going to require all employers to provide 20 hours of paid leave for prenatal care during any 52-week calendar period. This new prenatal leave is a self- contained bank of leave; it isn't part of NY DBL, and while it is contained in an amendment to the NY Paid Sick Leave statute, it is separate and apart from paid sick leave and doesn't appear to accrue like paid sick leave.

The new law allows leave to be taken for health care services during pregnancy or related to pregnancy, including physical exams, medical procedures, monitoring and testing, and discussions with a health care provider related to the pregnancy.

Prenatal leave may be taken in hourly increments and benefits shall be paid in hourly installments.

The rate of pay is the employee's regular rate of pay or minimum wage, whichever is greater.

The statute is very sparse so we will hope for more guidance from the state.

We haven't blogged about NY COVID leave since April and May 2020, so it is big news that the budget passage (S 8306-C, Part M) also provides for the sunset of New York State COVID-19 Emergency Leave beginning July 31, 2025. After that date, employees will no longer be entitled to paid COVID leave. Employees will be able to use other leave types (e.g., New York Paid Sick Leave) for COVID-related reasons.

Currently, the New York State COVID-19 Emergency Leave Law provides requires some employers (depending on size and income) in New York to provide at least 5 or 14 days of job protected, paid COVID-19 sick leave to employees who need to take leave because they or their minor dependent child are under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the state of New York, the Department of Health, local board of health, or any government entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19.

While the CDC ended its recommended five-day isolation period following a positive COVID-19 test, there has been no additional guidance from New York as to how this might affect COVID leave in New York.

While New York's governor started the legislative session with the mind set to implement prenatal leave, we will be keeping our mind's eye on other states that might follow.

Reliance Matrix Can Help!

If you need help navigating all of the different state leave laws, Reliance Matrix offers employers leave administration, including state paid family and medical leave solutions and accommodation services. For more information, contact your Reliance Matrix account manager or send us a message to [email protected].

Through its insurance and administrative services entities, Reliance Matrix offers integrated leave management services involving the FMLA, state-mandated paid family and medical leave and accommodation solutions. Product features and availability may vary by state. For more information, please contact your Reliance Matrix account manager, or reach us at [email protected].