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Paid Family Leave Qualifying Events: Bonding

Paid Family Leave provides bonding leave for both eligible parents for:

  • Bonding with a newborn child,
  • Bonding with a newly adopted child or child welcomed into foster care. For adoptions and fostering, PFL also covers work absences related to the adoption or fostering process such as:
    • Counseling sessions
    • Court appearances
    • Consulting with doctors or attorneys representing the birth parents
    • Physical examinations
    • Traveling for the adoption

Asian mom with baby

Learn more about other qualifying events:
Providing Care  
Military Exigencies  

Both, moms and dads, can take leave any time in the consecutive 52 weeks following the birth of a child. If you adopt or have a foster child placed with you, this 52-week period begins either on the day of placement or, if you take PFL during the process leading up to the adoption/fostering, the first day of Paid Family Leave taken will kick off the 52-week period.

With Paid Family Leave as a job protection benefit, eligible employees will be able to return to their positions — or one comparable in pay and benefits — after taking PFL. Paid Family Leave also protects health insurance during leave, mandating that employers continue coverage as though the employee was still working as usual.


Want more details on Paid Family Leave Benefits?

Visit this NY Paid Family Leave Benefits page for everything you need to know about calculating benefits/average weekly wage, and maximum benefit duration.



To get an idea of your
potential PFL benefit amount, use our easy

Paid Family Leave
Weekly Benefit Estimator

Paid Family Leave Insider Tips For Expecting Moms

Whether you’re expecting your first child or your fourth, having a new baby can be exciting – full of emotions, and can sometimes feel overwhelming. Thinking about managing time off from work may seem like the last thing on your list - but it can be helpful to plan ahead. Here are some insider tips from moms at ShelterPoint to help make it easier for as you prepare to use PFL and enjoy the time off to bond with your new baby.


Couple looking at a sonogram

Tip 1 - First Trimester

You’re expecting – congratulations! This can be a time full of learning and planning. As you start down your journey, here are some tips related to PFL and planning around your job:

  • Get to know your rights as a new working mom. You’ll want to make sure you work for a Covered Employer in New York, and meet eligibility requirements to make sure you have Paid Family Leave available to you. Get started here.
  • Start considering how much Paid Family Leave you may want to take after the baby comes. Even though PFL is paid, the benefit is still only a portion of your salary. So now’s a good time to start looking at budgets and see how much you might need or want to save up for.
  • Plus, unlike NY State Statutory Disability (DBL), PFL isn’t just for birth Moms! Make sure your partner also knows about the bonding time that may be available to them.
Woman with a doctor at her second trimester

Tip 2 - Second Trimester

Between doctor appointments, trying to decide on baby names, starting a registry, and researching your child care options, you also may want to:

  • Start thinking about how to plan for covering your duties at work. Maybe you need to write manuals, or prepare other training materials for whoever will be covering for you while you’re out on leave. If you haven’t done so already, now might be a good time to tell your employer about your pregnancy.
  • Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the PFL forms, and everything else you’ll need to submit along with the forms when you start your bonding leave.
  • Take some time for yourself to relax as you prepare for baby.
Woman at her third trimester sitting with her husband

Tip 3 - Third Trimester

You’re in the homestretch, and your beautiful baby is almost here! It may feel like there are so many things to still take care of — here are some recommendations on what to focus on related to Paid Family Leave:

  • Confirm that your employer knows when you’ll be taking leave and for how long. This should be in writing at least 30 days before you plan on starting your bonding leave.
  • This is also a good time to check in with your employer to see how Paid Family Leave interacts with any other benefits you may have (like DBL, other Short-Term Disability and your vacation/sick time.)
  • Start thinking about your options for how you’ll want to use your benefits. Do you want to take DBL first and then take PFL? Or maybe skip DBL and go right out on PFL directly. Will you want to take weekly leave or intermittent days? Now’s the time to start thinking about your anticipated schedule.
  • Prepare as many of your PFL forms as you can — but, don’t submit them to your Paid Family Leave insurance carrier before your bonding leave actually starts! Bonding leave cannot begin until after your baby is already born, and we all know babies are rarely born right on their due dates. This, among other things, makes it counterproductive to send your forms in too early.
Couple arriving at the hospital ready to give birth

Tip 4 - Giving Birth

Welcome to the world, Baby! We know the flurry of life with a new baby is busy, so here are some tips on managing the Paid Family Leave process:

  • Once you’re ready to start your PFL for bonding leave, you’ll need to submit the following to your PFL insurance carrier within 30 days after your bonding leave begins:
    • PFL-1: Part A is completed by you, and Part B is completed by your employer (they must complete their section and return it to you within 3 business days)
    • PFL-2 (Bonding certification) completed by you
    • Supporting documentation proving the relationship between you and child, such as the birth certificate. Form PFL-2 has a checklist to help you identify what exact documentation is needed for your specific bonding situation
  • It’s your responsibility to submit all the necessary forms and documentation to your PFL insurance carrier. Once you have all the different pieces complete, submit them all together at once to help make your claims process as smooth as possible.
  • Your carrier has 18 days after receipt of your fully completed PFL claim to make a PFL eligibility determination.
Close-up of a new born baby

Tip 5 - Taking Leave

Now that your baby is here, you’ll have plenty to focus on other than work – make sure to use that time in ways that are best for you and your family.

  • Get as much sleep as you can (easier said than done – we know!).
  • Find mom groups, dad groups, park groups – whatever you need to keep your connections and support network strong.
  • Try not to think about work – if you can!
  • Remember, PFL is flexible so you can take some time now and save some for later. Or even intermittently where you take every Monday, and your partner takes every Friday, leaving just 3 days to find childcare.
  • If you’re a ShelterPoint member you can check the status of your PFL claim online at:
Woman goes back to work after give birth

Tip 6 - Coming Back From Leave

Time flies and before you know it, it’s almost time to return to work. When baby entered your life there was a huge shift, and when you return to work, the details of your day-to-day will shift again. Planning out the details of your return in advance as much possible may help ease that shift a little. Here are some reminders:

  • Take a few minutes to check in with your employer and confirm your return date.
  • If you plan on breastfeeding, make sure your employer is aware and has made the required arrangements for you to be able to pump while at work.
  • Solidify your childcare details, and maybe even try a practice run or two with them before you actually return to work to help put your mind at ease.
  • If you decided not to use all of your PFL at once, think about how you might use any remaining PFL time you might have in the future. You have 1 year from the date of birth to use your PFL for bonding time.
Woman holdng her new born baby

Tip 7 - Congratulations Mom!

As you start this new chapter in your life as a working parent, there will be certain challenges that you’ve never experienced and if things aren’t picture perfect – that’s a-ok. Even if you’re a planning guru, things don’t always go as planned, and you’ll learn how to go with the flow and figure things out as they happen. Just remember what’s most important to you, try your best, ask for help when you need it, and you’ll totally rock this working parent thing and become a pro in adaptability!

Download these tips as a printable guide to keep handy and/or share with any expecting parents in your life!  

What’s Covered Under Each

While Paid Family Leave can be used by both new moms and new dads, DBL (NY’s statutory short-term disability) is something only available to the new mom giving birth to the baby. Paid Family Leave was made part of the same law governing DBL, so those two benefits do go hand-in-hand.

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

  1. Take all or some of your DBL, then transfer to PFL:
    • Time taken under Paid Family Leave can be either one consolidated period of time – or you can space out your PFL using single days or short, intermittent periods of time throughout baby’s first year
  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. Learn more about DBL here.


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PFL Expert Tip:

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.

Since Paid Family Leave can’t be used for yourself, PFL does not cover prenatal conditions resulting from a pregnancy such as bed rest or post-partum depression.

For example, should you suffer from postpartum depression or require surgery after giving birth, you can use DBL time since this is for your personal condition. You could then change to PFL to bond with your child after recovery, starting from the time when you stop your DBL benefits.
Learn more about how DBL and PFL compare here.

If your employer has 50+ employees, they are also subject to FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act), which provides 12 weeks of unpaid time off and job protection. In these situations, Paid Family Leave and FMLA benefits must be coordinated.
Learn more about how Paid Family Leave compares to FMLA here.


The Benefits of Bonding

Parental bonding is one of the most important predictors of a child’s eventual health and wellbeing. Those earliest moments with mom and dad set the stage for a lifetime of thriving. By helping provide more bonding time with fewer worries (like finances and job security), Paid Family Leave can help more parents and children realize the benefits of bonding. Children have been shown to exhibit more signs of emotional security and wellbeing when they have plenty of time to bond with mom and dad, which are primary indicators of a child’s capacity to adapt, grow, and ultimately thrive in society.* Let’s look at a few correlations between Paid Family Leave and the health and wellness of newborns:

  • A 10-week extension of paid leave reduced the death rate in infants under a year old by 6%.1
  • Children whose families utilize Paid Family Leave have higher rates of immunizations and participations in well-child check-ups.1
  • Paid Family Leave yields higher rates and longer periods of breastfeeding, which in turn, reduces the rates of childhood infections.1

So, while these research findings indicate that taking PFL to bond can help improve the lives of babies, it may also help moms and dads ease into lifestyle changes and maintain a better work life/balance. Having the time for doctor appointments and check-ups is important to ensuring a child’s health and to parents’ peace of mind.

We’ve compiled more information in this infographic to illustrate the advantages of bonding.  

1Zero to Three Paid Family Leave Fact Sheet


Benefits of Bonding Infographic


Dads Need to Bond, Too!

Dads haven’t always had access to paternity leave or bonding leave, but now with New York’s Paid Family Leave, they can take the time they need to get to know their little one and develop a bond that will last a lifetime.

Read our post on PFL for dads to see how paternity leave is on the rise, how dads take bonding leave, how New York compares to other States that already have established programs – and exclusive insights from our claim data on PFL bonding leave for dads.

Go to blog now.  


Learn More About NY Paid Family Leave

Family bonding
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NY Paid Family Leave FAQs for Bonding Leave

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 Paid Family Leave, 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.

For birth, if the mother uses PFL, does the father get a separate bank of PFL time off or is it combined with the mother?

Yes, dad gets his own 12 weeks of PFL.



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The ShelterPoint family of companies operates under the “ShelterPoint” name strictly as a marketing name, and no legal significance is expressed or implied. The ShelterPoint family of companies consists of ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company, a NY-domiciled carrier, and its wholly-owned subsidiary ShelterPoint Insurance Company, a FL-domiciled carrier, depending on the state. ShelterPoint is a registered service mark.

Underwritten by:
ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company (principal office in Garden City, NY) in: NY
ShelterPoint only offers Paid Family Leave in form of a rider to DBL.
Policy Form# SPL DB0922 F

This page 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 Paid Family Leave information is based on the applicable statutes and may change if guidance is issued by the State of New York.


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