What Are the States With Paid Family Leave? | Thorough Guide
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States With Paid Family Leave (+ Map & Chart)

In 2020, eligible employees in every state could receive paid family leave … temporarily, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. But outside of this expired emergency legislation, there are only a handful of states that require paid family leave.

According to the most recent BLS data, 16% of private industry workers regularly have access to paid family leave. But as the number of states with paid family leave rises, this number will, too. 

So, what is paid family leave? Which states require it? And, how do state leave laws compare with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act? Get your questions answered below.

What is paid family leave?

Paid family leave (PFL), or paid family and medical leave (PFML), is a state-mandated law that provides employees with paid family and medical leave. States with paid family leave require employees and/or employers to contribute to a paid leave fund. Eligible employees who work in states with state family and medical leave laws receive wages when they take off from work for qualifying reasons.

In most (but not all) cases, family and medical leave are lumped together under one law. But, there’s a difference between the two:

  • Paid family leave: Time away from work employees can spend bonding with a new child or taking care of ill family members
  • Paid medical leave: Time away from work employees can take caring for their own serious illness

If you’re an employer with employees who work in one of the states with paid family leave, you need to know your responsibilities.

Keep in mind that paid family leave is different from paid sick leave. Paid sick leave is time off an employee can use if they are out sick. A number of states have paid sick leave laws. In fact, all the states with paid family leave laws also have paid sick leave laws. 

State family leave vs. federal family leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that requires businesses with at least 50 employees to provide unpaid leave. FMLA guidelines for employers apply to qualifying businesses in all states.

Under federal law, employees can take leave for:

  • The birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child
  • The care of a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition
  • A personal serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform their job
  • A situation that requires attention because of the military deployment of a spouse, child, or parent

The main difference between federal and state FMLA laws is whether the leave is paid or unpaid. Federal family leave is unpaid. State family leave is paid.

FMLA is unpaid time off; State PFL is paid time off

State law generally requires employees, employers, or both to pay into a mandatory fund. You must deduct or contribute a specified percentage of an employee’s wages to fund paid family and medical leave. Because federal FMLA is unpaid, you don’t have to worry about these types of payroll deductions.

States with paid family leave 

So, what states have paid family leave? The following have state leave laws:

  • California
  • Colorado (coming soon)
  • Connecticut
  • D.C.
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon (coming soon)
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington

map of states with paid family leave

Some cities, like San Francisco, also require paid family leave. And, there are some states that have an unpaid family leave law (e.g., Vermont) that applies to more employers than the FMLA. 

The states with state-mandated paid family leave set specific rules about:

  • Reasons for paid leave 
  • How long employees can take paid leave
  • Which employees qualify for leave
  • Who pays
  • Contribution rate
  • Paid family leave benefit amount

If you must provide paid family leave to your employees, notify your employees and post a notice in your workplace. 

Read on for a detailed overview of the paid family leave laws by state.

California 

California’s Paid Family Leave was the first program implemented in the country. If you’re an employer in California, you do not need to contribute to the state’s paid family leave program. However, you must withhold contributions from your employees’ wages for the employee-funded program.

California’s PFL is part of its State Disability Insurance (SDI) Program. Here’s what you need to know about it:

  • Reasons for paid leave: Employees can take paid family leave to:
    • Care for a seriously ill family member
    • Bond with a new child (birth, adoption, or foster care)
    • Participate in a qualifying event due to a family member’s military deployment to a foreign country
  • How long employees can take paid leave: Up to eight weeks within any 12-month period
  • Which employees qualify for leave: Workers who are “attached to the labor market” (e.g., employed), have wage loss due to the leave, and have sufficient earnings in the previous 12-month period
  • Who pays: Employees 
  • Contribution rate: 1.2% of employee wages
  • Paid family leave benefit amount: Approximately 60-70% of the employee’s weekly salary

Check out California’s website for more information on paid family leave.

Colorado

Colorado’s upcoming paid family leave program requires employers to start withholding and remitting employee and employer contributions in 2023. Employees can access paid family and medical leave benefits starting in 2024. 

Colorado employers, don’t put off getting to know this new law until the last minute. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Reasons for paid leave: Employees can take Colorado paid family leave if they:
    • Have given birth
    • Need to deal with a serious health condition
    • Must care for a seriously ill family member
    • Need to take safe leave due to domestic violence
  • How long employees can take paid leave: 12 weeks, plus four additional weeks if the employee has medical complications
  • Which employees qualify for leave: Employees who have earned at least $2,500 at their job
  • Who pays: Employees and employers
  • Contribution rate: 0.9%, split 50/50 between employees and employers; businesses with fewer than 10 employees are exempt from employer portion
  • Paid family leave benefit amount: Varies based on how the employee’s average weekly wage compares to the state average; maximum weekly benefit is $1,100 for 2024

For more information on Colorado’s upcoming state family leave law, contact the state

Connecticut 

Connecticut’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) program began in January 2021. Employers must begin withholding and remitting employee contributions in 2021. Employees can access benefits starting in 2022.  

Here’s the scoop on Connecticut’s PFMLA:

  • Reasons for paid leave: Employees can take paid family leave to:
    • Deal with a health condition or injury
    • Care for a seriously ill family member
    • Bond with a new child (birth, adoption, or foster care)
    • Take more time for recovery during pregnancy or after childbirth (can apply for an extra two weeks of leave)
    • Donate bone marrow or an organ
    • Participate in a qualifying event due to a family member’s military deployment to a foreign country
    • Deal with a situation related to the military deployment of a family member
    • Handle situations related to family violence
  • How long employees can take paid leave: 12 weeks in a 12-month period (plus 2 additional weeks for pregnancy or childbirth recovery)
  • Which employees qualify for leave: Full-time and part-time employees who earned at least $2,325 in the highest-earning quarter of the first four of the past five quarters and is working in the state or has worked in Connecticut during the past 12 weeks
  • Who pays: Employees 
  • Contribution rate: 0.5% of employee wages
  • Paid family leave benefit amount: Based on employee wages; maximum benefit is 60 times the Connecticut minimum wage 

Head on over to Connecticut’s website for more information.

D.C.

D.C.’s Paid Family Leave program let employees begin using benefits in mid-2020. D.C.’s program is employer-only, meaning you do not withhold premiums from employee wages. You must pay this premium if you are covered by the D.C. Unemployment Compensation Act.

Here’s what the program entails:

  • Reasons for paid leave: Employees can take paid family and medical leave to:
    • Bond with a new child (up to 8 weeks)
    • Care for a seriously ill family member (up to 6 weeks)
    • Deal with a serious health condition (up to 2 weeks)
  • How long employees can take paid leave: Duration depends on reason for time off
  • Which employees qualify for leave: Employees who worked for an employer in D.C. before needing to take PFL
  • Who pays: Employers
  • Contribution rate: 0.62% of each employee’s wages
  • Paid family leave benefit amount: Based on employee wages; maximum weekly benefit of $1,000 through October 1, 2021

For more information about this family leave program, check out Washington D.C.’s website.

Massachusetts 

Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) is an employee and employer program. All employees must contribute. Employers with 25 or more employees must also contribute.

Check out our rundown on Massachusetts PFML:

  • Reasons for paid leave: Employees can use PFML to:
    • Bond with a child during the first 12 months after the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement
    • Care for a seriously ill family member
    • Deal with a serious health condition
    • Care for a military family member who developed or aggravated a serious condition while deployed to a foreign country
    • Deal with a family member being on active duty
  • How long employees can take paid leave: Up to 26 weeks per year
  • Which employees qualify for leave: Full-time and part-time employees working in Massachusetts 
  • Who pays: Employee and employers with 25 or more employees 
    Contribution rate: 0.75% of employee wages, split between employee and employer 
  • Paid family leave benefit amount: Varies based on employee’s wages; maximum of $850 per week

View Massachusetts’ website for more information on paid family leave.

New Jersey

New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance program is funded by employees only. Take a look at the program basics:

  • Reasons for paid leave: Employees can take paid leave to:
    • Bond with a newborn, newly adopted child, or newly placed foster child
    • Care for a seriously ill or injured family member
  • How long employees can take paid leave: Up to 12 weeks (consecutive) or 8 weeks (non-consecutive) in a 12-month period
  • Which employees qualify for leave: Employees who worked 20 weeks earning at least $220 weekly or earned a combined total of $11,000 in the first four of the last five completed quarters
  • Who pays: Employees
  • Contribution rate: 0.28% of employee wages up to the wage base
  • Paid family leave benefit amount: Varies based on employee wages; maximum weekly benefit of $903 in 2021

For more information, check out New Jersey’s website.

New York

New York’s Paid Family Leave is an employee-only program. As an employer, you do not need to pay into the PFL fund.

Check out the basics of New York’s program:

  • Reasons for paid leave: Employees can use New York PFL to:
    • Bond with a newly-born, adopted, or fostered child
    • Care for a close relative with a serious health condition
    • Assist when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service
  • How long employees can take paid leave: Up to 12 weeks of leave in 2021
  • Which employees qualify for leave: Employees who work 26 consecutive weeks (working 20 or more hours per week) or 175 days in a year (working less than 20 hours per week)
  • Who pays: Employees
  • Contribution rate: 0.511% of employee wages in 2021, up to the wage base
  • Paid family leave benefit amount: 67% of employee’s average weekly wage, up to the same percentage of the NY State average weekly wage

Want more New York PFL details? Consult New York’s state website for the scoop.

Oregon

Oregon’s upcoming Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (PFMLI) program starts in 2022 with employee and employer payroll contributions. 

Get ahead of the game by learning about Oregon’s PFMLI:

  • Reasons for paid leave: Employees can take PFMLI to:
    • Bond with a child (birth, adoption, or foster care placement)
    • Care for a seriously ill family member
    • Deal with a serious health condition
    • Take safe leave due to domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, or stalking
  • How long employees can take paid leave: Up to 12 weeks, plus an additional two weeks for pregnancy, childbirth, and related circumstances
  • Which employees qualify for leave: Employees who earned $1,000 or more in the previous year
  • Who pays: Employees and employers
  • Contribution rate: Will be determined annually (maximum of 1%), shared between employees (60%) and employers (40%)
  • Paid family leave benefit amount: Varies based on employee’s average weekly wage; can be up to 100% of regular wages

For more information on Oregon’s PFMLI, head over to the state website.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s paid family and medical leave program is divided into two parts:

  • Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI): Employees can use to care for their own illness or injury
  • Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI): Employees can use to care for a new child or family member 

Here’s a little bit more background on the Rhode Island program:

  • Reasons for paid leave: Employees can use TDI and TCI to:
    • Bond with a child (birth, adoption, or foster care placement)
    • Care for a seriously ill family member 
  • How long employees can take paid leave: Employees can take TCI for up to 4 weeks and TDI for up to 30 weeks
  • Which employees qualify for leave: Employees must be out of work for at least 7 days due to qualifying reasons before receiving TDI or TCI benefits
  • Who pays: Employees
  • Contribution rate: 1.3% of employee wages up to $74,000
  • Paid family leave benefit amount: Varies based on employee wages; maximum of $887

For more information about Rhode Island’s program, check out their website.

Washington

If you’re a Washington employer, withhold the Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave premium from employee wages. If you have 50 or more employees, you must also contribute an employer portion.

Here’s the scoop:

  • Reasons for paid leave: Employees can take paid leave to:
    • Bond with a new child (baby, adoption, foster-care placement)
    • Deal with a serious illness or injury
    • Care for a seriously ill family member
    • Spend time with a family member who is about to be deployed overseas or is returning from overseas deployment 
  • How long employees can take paid leave: Up to 12 weeks; up to 16 weeks for employees with more than one qualifying event; up to 18 weeks for employees who experience a pregnancy or birth condition that incapacitates them
  • Which employees qualify for leave: Workers who have worked a minimum of 820 hours during the previous year
  • Who pays: Employees and employers with 50 or more employees
  • Contribution rate: 0.4% of employee wages, shared by employee (63.33%) and, if applicable, employer (36.67%), up to the Social Security wage base
  • Paid family leave benefit amount: Up to 90% of the employee’s weekly pay; maximum of $1,206 in 2021

If you have questions about the program, view Washington’s website.

State-mandated paid family leave and payroll

As an employer, you must accurately withhold deductions, like state-mandated paid family leave, and taxes from an employee’s wages. 

So, which comes first? Do you withhold taxes before or after you deduct PFL premiums?

PFL premiums are post-tax deductions. This means you withhold taxes before you deduct state premiums from employee wages. 

To keep contribution rates and contributors straight, use our states with paid family leave chart:

StateWho Contributes PFL Premium?PFL Contribution Rate
CaliforniaEmployees1.2%
Colorado (coming soon)Employees & Employers0.9%
ConnecticutEmployees0.5%
D.C.Employers0.62%
MassachusettsEmployees & Qualifying Employers0.75%
New JerseyEmployees0.28%
New YorkEmployees 0.511%
Oregon (coming soon)Employees & EmployersTBD
Rhode IslandEmployees1.3%
WashingtonEmployees & Qualifying Employers0.4%

Calculating state-mandated paid family leave doesn’t have to consume your time. Use Patriot’s payroll software to calculate and withhold state paid family leave premiums from employee wages. Start your free trial today to find out what you could do with the time you save!

This article has been updated from its original publication date of June 17, 2019.

This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.

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