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Paid Family Leave Qualifying Events: Military Leave

If you are a part of a military family, you’ve most likely experienced the challenges that come with your loved one’s deployment and the pressures it can put on your life. The military leave portion of Paid Family Leave (PFL) has been designed to help combat the unique challenges that come with having a family member in the military. Here are some of the most important details about the benefit, eligibility, and process of Paid Family Leave, specifically for military events.

Return soldier with family member

Learn more about other qualifying events:
Providing Care  

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How Does Military Leave Work?

Paid Family Leave for Military leave is for eligible employees who have to attend to family matters due to their family member’s “qualifying military event.” Under PFL, qualifying military events occur when a spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent is:

  • On active duty
  • Called to active duty status
  • Notified of an impending call to active duty
Note that these definitions are slightly different based on the branch of the armed forces your family member is serving. For members of the Regular Armed Forces, duty counts as deployment with the Armed Forces to a foreign country.

For members of the Army Reserve and National Guard, qualifying events include:

  • Deployment with the Armed Forces to a foreign country or,
  • Placement under a call or order to active duty during situations like national emergencies.
An important thing to know about using Paid Family Leave for military events is that the PFL regulations are intentionally high-level regarding qualifying events. They were written that way so that the legislation follows the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guidelines regarding qualifying military events. As a result, if anything changes at the federal level with regard to FMLA and military time off, the same changes will apply to PFL.



Covered Activities For Military Leave

Because it can be challenging to determine which types of activities are covered by PFL, here are typical use-cases and what they include:

  • Deployments with notice of 7 days or less: This allows families time to make arrangements for their family if the service member is called to leave on short notice.
  • Financial and legal arrangements: When service members are deployed, or called to deployment, this qualifying event allows families to make arrangements regarding power of attorney, enrolling in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), obtaining military identification cards, and any other activities that allow an immediate family member to act as the service member’s representative while they are deployed.
  • Counseling: Paid Family Leave can be used for family members to receive professional treatment (provided by a mental health specialist, as opposed to a general practitioner) for the psychological stress that often accompanies active duty deployment.
  • Military events and related activities: Attending military-related ceremonies, family support programs, and/or informational briefings about deployment are all considered qualifying events under PFL.
  • Childcare and school activities: PFL provides time off to attend to additional or urgent childcare needs due to a deployment notice, whether that’s school enrollment, transferring, or attending day care meetings and care planning activities.

    It does not cover taking leave to perform ongoing every-day childcare (i.e., becoming the primary caregiver during the deployment) or routine school events (such as parties or plays).

    The employee taking paid family leave does not need to be directly related to the military member’s child – children of the employee’s spouse, child, and parent called to/on active duty qualify.

  • Parental care: In much the same way PFL allows time to make care arrangements for children, caring for a service member’s parent(s) is also covered. For example, if a service member’s parent needs non-routine or emergency care, or needs to be transferred to an assisted living facility, it would be covered. Additional care activities like attending a hospice meeting or facility tour will also be considered qualifying for a military leave event.

    The employee taking paid family leave does not need to be directly related to the military member’s parent – parents of the employee’s spouse, child, and parent called to/on active duty qualify.

  • Rest and Recuperation: When a service member has been put on “Rest and Recuperation leave,” during covered active duty, his or her family members may use PFL to spend time with them. The R&R duration is limited to 15 days per occurrence of your available PFL time.
  • Post-deployment activities: For 90 days after a service member returns home from deployment, PFL will cover activities such as arrival ceremonies, reintegration briefings/events, and other official military ceremonies or programs. In the case of the death of the family member, PFL would cover all of the time needed to make arrangements for the family and funeral ceremonies.
  • Additional service related activities: Employers have the ability to accept other qualifying leave events related to military service, depending on the timing and duration of the leave. If you don’t see your specific need listed above, check with your employer and they will be able to assist.


Paid Family Leave To Care For My Injured
Military Family Member

Can PFL be utilized to care for your injured or ill military family member? Yes – as long as the ill or injured service member requiring care meets the Paid Family Leave definition of being “seriously ill”, since care is provided under the “providing care” qualifying event rather than a military-specific qualifying event.

This structure protects and delegates time for family members to spend dealing with the hardship of deployment and/or preparing for deployment. Providing care if your loved one is seriously wounded or becomes ill in the line of duty is covered by Paid Family Leave under an entirely separate qualifying event, so military families will have additional options for handling the burdens of service.


Notification Of Employer

As with all qualifying events for Paid Family Leave, at least a 30-day notice is required to take leave; however, in situations where your family member’s serious condition happens unexpectedly, you need to provide notice “as soon as practicable” (generally considered to be the very next day, or the next business day). The notice should also include the reason for leave, and the anticipated length of the leave, if foreseeable.



military family reunion

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Paid Family Leave
In Person Stories

See the personal side of Paid Family Leave and how it is making a difference for New Yorkers as part of our “PFL in Person” series. Read through our library of real stories, from real people who have used NY’s Paid Family Leave here.

Discover real life stories of PFL  
Faces of New Yorkers who took Paid Family Leaves

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NY Paid Family Leave FAQs For Military


What documentation will I need to submit a claim?

Along with claim forms, you will need to provide a number of documents for your qualifying military event. The first time you request leave for a qualifying military event, you may be required to provide a copy of the military member’s active duty orders or other documents issued by the military that includes the service member’s active duty status and details of the service. This information will only need to be provided once to the employer or carrier, unless another service member in your family is called to active duty.

Other documents include US Department of Labor Military Family Leave Certification (Federal Military Leave Form), Copy of Military Duty Papers, and other documents that relate to the type of qualifying event — like ceremony details or R&R orders. Information that will need to be provided as part of your completed claim include:

  • Statement or description of appropriate facts about the qualifying event for which you are requesting Paid Family Leave.
  • Approximate dates for the event and for time off. This includes start and end dates for any leave that lasts over a continuous period of time.
  • If the leave is for an intermittent period of time, the frequency and duration of the leave time should be noted.
  • If the qualifying leave event involves a third party, providing contact details for that third party as well as a nature of the meeting (ie, setting up childcare, meeting with a lawyer, etc.).
  • If the qualifying event is for R&R, a copy of the R&R orders and other related documentation from the military, as well as dates, should be provided.
We recommend that you make copies of all your forms and documentation for your own personal records. This will help smooth over any hiccups during the process should information be found incomplete or missing.

If you provide the appropriate information and documentation for your leave, you should be covered. If your leave involves a third party, however, your carrier or employer may contact that third party to ensure that a meeting is scheduled to take place and that the nature of the meeting is as you described in your documentation. They may also contact the Department of Defense to request verification of the military member’s active duty status.

Visit our PFL Claims guide page for more help with your claim.
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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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