Assemblymember Barrett: Helping Hardworking Families Means Supporting Paid Family Leave

Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Columbia, Dutchess) announced the Assembly passed legislation she sponsored to implement paid family leave benefits for injury or sickness, pregnancy or to care for a new baby or an ailing family member (A.3870-A). The bill will allow workers to receive some income during a brief period of leave to help prevent families from falling into financial disaster.

"There is something fundamentally wrong when hard-working New Yorkers have to choose between caring for a new baby or an ailing loved one and holding onto their job," said Assemblymember Barrett.

Current federal law guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid parental and medical leave. However, the federal law leaves about 40 percent of the workforce uncovered and provides only unpaid time off, something most working people can’t afford. Additionally, only 12 percent of private-sector workers currently have access to paid family leave.

Under the legislation passed today, employers would be required to offer a paid family leave benefit with a maximum employee contribution of 45 cents per week. This small employee contribution would ensure two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage and guaranteed job security for up to 12 weeks.

The bill would also support employees with disabilities resulting from injury, sickness or pregnancy with an employee contribution of up to 60 cents per week with guaranteed job security for up to 26 weeks. Employers would be required to cover the excess beyond contributions collected from the employee.

“In many ways this impacts women disproportionately, as they are more often the caregivers for aging parents, as well as new babies,” said Assemblymember Barrett. “But paid family leave is, simply put, better for all family members and that's why the majority of New Yorkers support it.”