A record number of workers in New York filed for paid family leave last year as the law was fully phased in for 2021. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul's office on Friday announced 146,708 claims for paid family leave were filed last year and since the program went into effect in 2018 more than 543,000 claims have been paid. 

New York's paid family leave law was approved in 2016 under then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The measure was fully enacted in 2021, providing up to 12 weeks of paid leave at 67% of a worker's salary. 

The measure is meant to help workers take time off to care for a sick loved one or bond with a newborn.

The program is paid for by a weekly payroll deduction. Eligible employees include workers who have 20 or more hours per week are eligible after 26 weeks of employment. Employees who have a regular schedule of fewer than 20 hours a week are eligible after 175 days of work.

"No one should have to choose between caring for a loved one and a paycheck, and today's findings demonstrate how critical paid family leave is, especially for working-class New Yorkers," Hochul said. "This Father's Day, I am especially heartened to see that men have so enthusiastically taken advantage of this benefit to care for and bond with their children and that more of them are using paid family leave every year." 

The law is set to expand again in 2023 when family members can take time off to care for a sibling.