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NY Paid Family Leave: Opting-Out Of Coverage

In most cases, Paid Family Leave (PFL) is a mandatory benefit for employees who do not fall into an excluded class. Unless an employee meets the very specific criteria below and you are a Covered Employer, they must participate in Paid Family Leave – even if they’ve already had children or have no living family, and don’t foresee ever needing this type of benefit.

But, there are a few very specific instances under which an employee can opt-out.


Business Owners May Exclude Themselves

As the owner, you may file a request with the Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB)
to exclude yourself under the following circumstances:

Circumstance #1

If your business is a corporation with no more than 2 corporate officers (each owning at least 1 share of stock) and you have at least 1 employee, you may elect to exclude yourself from DBL/PFL coverage.

Circumstance #2

As a sole proprietor or co-owner of a partnership, you may elect to exclude your spouse by filing a spousal exclusion.


When Can An Employee Opt-Out Of
Paid Family Leave?

There are a few limited scenarios under which certain employees may “opt out” by filling out the PFL-Waiver form.  An employee may file a waiver for PFL benefits if they:

  • work 20+ hours per week, but not 26 consecutive weeks, or
  • work fewer than 20 hours per week, but not 175 days in a consecutive 52-week period, or
  • work less than 20 hours per week and less than 175 days in a consecutive 52-week period

If an employee’s work schedule ceases to fall below this threshold, their PFL waiver is automatically invalid within 8 weeks of the change in their work schedule. At that time, you must start counting this employee for premium purposes – and if you are collecting employee contributions for PFL, any employee coming off a waiver will need to start contributing, including any retroactive amounts back to the date of hire or inception of PFL.

You will need to keep the waiver on file for as long as they are working for you – whether the waiver is still in force or not.

One other scenario where an employee may opt-out or exempt themselves is if they are receiving, or are eligible to receive, Old Age Social Security benefits. However, in this case the employee would need to opt-out of both DBL and PFL by sending written notice to the Worker’s Compensation Board.

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PFL Expert Tip:

It’s best practice to educate employees who would qualify for the waiver about their options, especially if you withhold PFL premium from employees, and have them confirm in writing even if they don’t want to waive.

If an employee works 2 jobs and works over 20 hours for each job, can they opt-out of contributing to PFL for 1 of those jobs?

Generally speaking, no. If the employee works for multiple Covered Employers, more than 20 hours per week per job, and for at least 26 consecutive weeks for those jobs, they are considered eligible and must have Paid Family Leave benefits from each job.

If they haven’t worked 26 consecutive weeks for one or both jobs, they can fill out the PFL waiver form to opt-out, but that waiver will only stay in effect until they have reached the 26-week benchmark. Learn more about how PFL works for employees with multiple employers here.

If an employee opts-out, does our DBL carrier need to be notified so we won’t be billed?

No. However, your PFL insurance carrier may ask to see this documentation as part of an audit, but it’s not something that needs to be submitted for everyone. Since your carrier may have specific requirements, please check with them.

Don’t forget, in order to opt-out of Paid Family Leave, an employee must meet the specific requirement listed above in answer #1; and they must submit an opt-out waiver to their employer. The employer must keep the waiver on file for as long as the employee works for them – whether the waiver is still in force or not.

The ABCs of PFL

Our in-depth guide provides everything you need to know about Paid Family Leave in New York. Here’s what you’ll find inside this 34-page guide:

  • PFL basics
  • Eligibility - updated for 2024
  • Benefit eligibility and qualification period details
  • Benefits - updated for 2024
  • Claims
  • Premium - updated for 2024
  • Example withholdings - updated for 2024
  • Employer responsibilities
  • How PFL compares to DBL & FMLA
  • Tips from your PFL Experts
  • …And much more!
Download your copy now



ABCs of PFL brochure cover

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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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