‘History in the Making’ as New York Lawmakers Agree to What Will Be the Nation’s Fourth and Strongest Statewide Paid Family Leave Program

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“The New York state legislature’s reported agreement last night, to pass a budget that includes a paid family leave provision championed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, is a huge and meaningful victory for workers and their families. New York is now positioned to become the fourth state to guarantee this critical protection and the only state to provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave once the program is fully phased in, with job protection, for serious family health and caregiving needs. This is history in the making.

When the new program takes full effect, New Yorkers will have the health and economic security paid leave provides, including an estimated 6.4 million New York workers who are currently not guaranteed any paid time off when a loved one is seriously ill or injured or a new child arrives. The program will build on New York’s longstanding temporary disability insurance program, which has provided some wage replacement during periods of leave for serious personal medical reasons since 1950.

We commend the Strong Families, Strong New York campaign and the Time to Care coalition for their tireless work to make this reported agreement possible, Governor Cuomo for his strong leadership and powerful commitment to meeting the needs of New York families, and every lawmaker who supports the measure. As similar programs in California, New Jersey and Rhode Island demonstrate, New York’s working families, businesses and economy will benefit as a result of this new program.

This action in New York comes at a time of unprecedented attention to paid leave. Just 13 percent of U.S. workers have paid family leave through their jobs. Nearly four in five likely 2016 voters (79 percent) say it’s important for elected officials to guarantee paid family and medical leave. Yet Congress has failed to prioritize a proposal to do just that – the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act. As more jurisdictions advance paid leave, it becomes even clearer that it’s past time for that to change.”

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. Based in Washington, D.C., the organization drafted and led the fight to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.


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