New York State’s Major Senior Advocacy Organizations Call for Paid Family Leave

June 10, 2015

Dear Governor Cuomo and Members of the State Legislature,

No daughter should have to choose between keeping a roof over her head and being able to care for a seriously ill parent. No father should have to miss the first weeks of a new child’s life in order to afford to put food on the table. No hard-worker should lose her job because she choses to care for a family member in a time of need. During these critical life moments, New Yorkers should not have to choose between their family’s health and their financial stability.

Families across the state are suffering without access to paid family leave. 12 percent of private sector workers, and only 5 percent of the lowest wage workers, receive paid family leave from their employers. This forces a tremendous number of workers across New York to take unpaid leave, risk job loss, and suffer a huge financial toll when these major life events occur.

Paid family leave policies have a chance to build loyalty between employees and employers. The value of being able to care for a chronically or seriously ill parent, or be present for the first weeks of a newborn’s life, is immeasurable. Members of the healthcare community agree; allowing family members to spend time with a loved one during a period of illness leads to better outcomes for patients and for public health.

The momentum around paid family leave has grown in Albany and around our state. We would like to thank all those who are calling for the passage of the Paid Family Leave Insurance Act (S. 3004) in the Senate and those in the State Assembly who have already taken action to pass the same bill (A.3870) in March.

This is a critical issue and a commonsense solution for families around New York, and we urge those who have yet to add their support for paid family leave to do so now. This legislation would provide workers in New York State with up to 12 weeks of paid family leave a year to care for a seriously ill family member or a new child, bringing greater financial stability to thousands of New Yorkers and their families.

New Jersey, California, and Rhode Island already provide paid family leave through their Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) programs, and New York could do the same. The proposed legislation would raise TDI, which hasn’t been raised in decades; the small cost would be shared by employers and employees. The additional cost of a paid family leave program would be shouldered exclusively by employees.

It is time to make New York next. New York should join other cities and states that have made paid family leave a reality. We hope to count on your leadership to help make that happen.

Sincerely,

AARP New York
New York Statewide Senior Action Council
New York State Alliance for Retired Americans