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New York employers now have a big “to do” item for 2025. Starting January 1, 2025, New York employers will be required to provide employees with 20 hours of paid prenatal personal leave (PPPL) during any 52‑week calendar period in addition to paid sick and safe leave (PSSL). New York is the first state in the US to require employers to provide such leave.

The new obligation results from Governor Hochul’s FY 2025 executive budget bill (A 8805), which passed April 20, 2024 and (among other things) amends New York Labor Law § 196-b (New York state’s paid sick and safe leave law). The new law does not change an employee’s entitlement to other leaves such as PSSL (which is 40 or 56 hours per year, depending on the size of the employer) and New York Paid Family Leave (which provides eligible employees job-protected, paid time off for reasons including to bond with a newborn, adopted or fostered child).

Breaking down PPPL

Who does this apply to?

All employers in New York are required to provide PPPL to all pregnant employees.

What type of leave is covered by PPPL?

PPPL is leave taken for health care services received by an employee during their pregnancy or related to such pregnancy, including

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

Does PPPL have to accrue before employees can take PPPL?

No. Eligible employees can take all 20 hours of PPPL they are entitled to for the 52-week period starting the effective date of the new law–without waiting for PPPL to accrue.

Are there certain increments for taking leave?

Employees are permitted to take PPPL in hourly increments.

How is PPPL paid?

PPPL must be paid in hourly installments. Employers must pay employees for PPPL at the employee’s regular rate of pay, or the applicable minimum wage–whichever is greater.

Are employers required to pay out PPPL upon separation?

No. Employers are not required to pay an employee for unused PPPL upon such employee’s termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment.

And like New York’s PSL:

  • Employers cannot require confidential health information: An employer may not require the disclosure of certain confidential information as a condition of providing PPPL, including confidential information relating to a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition of the employee.
  • Retaliation is prohibited: An employer may not discharge, threaten, penalize, discriminate or retaliate against an employee for exercising their right to request and use PPPL.
  • Reinstatement is required: Upon returning to work following PPPL, the employee must be restored to the position they held prior to taking PPPL, with the same pay and other terms and conditions of employment.
  • Employers can provide more leave: Employers may (if they choose) provide an amount of PPPL in excess of the law’s requirements.

Other changes New York employers need to know

The passage of Governor Hochul’s FY 2025 executive budget ushers in other changes employers need to prepare for:

  • Time for breast milk expression: The budget bill also amends the New York Labor Law to require time for breast milk expression. Effective June 19, 2024, for up to three years following the birth of a child, employers must:
    • Provide paid break time of thirty minutes to allow an employee to express breast milk for the employee’s nursing child, and
    • Allow an employee to use existing paid break time or meal time in excess of thirty minutes to nurse.

In addition, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees who choose to express breast milk in the workplace.

  • The sunset of paid COVID-19 sick leave: The budget bill also sunsets New York’s COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Law on July 31, 2025. The law entitles employees to paid COVID-19 leave when subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Employees will still be able to use other qualifying paid leave, including New York Paid Sick Leave, for COVID-19 related reasons.

What should employers do now?

New York employers should:

  • Update employment policies and practices in time to comply with the new laws and modify employee handbooks as necessary.
  • Train HR and managers / supervisors on the changes.
  • Keep watch for relevant guidance from the New York State Department of Labor (or other state agencies).
  • Reach out to counsel with any questions surrounding these new obligations.