Start Spreading The News: Governor Cuomo signs New York Paid Leave Law

Every Child Matters on Long Island was part of the grassroots coalition that made paid leave a reality for New York families.

A broad coalition of New York workers and grassroots advocates scored a major victory last week, when the State Legislature approved a paid parental leave plan. The new law, which guarantees 12 weeks paid leave for all new parents, will be the most comprehensive paid leave policy in the country.

The paid leave provision was part of a budget deal that also included a minimum wage hike to $15 per hour, and passed with bipartisan support. Governor Cuomo signed the bill into law Monday morning.

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Every Child Matters on Long Island worked alongside the SEIU, the Fight for $15, and countless New York workers and parents to urge lawmakers to support paid family leave. “New Yorkers should be proud of the advocacy efforts they took on behalf of children and families,” said Shanequa Levin, director of Every Child Matters on Long Island. “Our voices were heard and now paid family leave insurance has become a reality. We thank our state lawmakers for putting families first by passing this important legislation.”

Here is what you need to know about the plan:

  • The new paid leave policy—like the minimum wage hike—will phase in gradually starting in 2018. By 2021, workers will be guaranteed 12 weeks of leave at two-thirds pay, as long as they have worked for their employer for at least six months.
  • The policy applies equally to men and women, and also includes adoptive and foster parents. The policy will also cover workers taking time off to care for a family member’s illness or address military family needs related to deployment.
  • The policy will be funded by a payroll tax of about $1 per employee per week.

The bill is similar to the FAMILY Act, a piece of federal legislation that would create a nationwide paid leave policy. That bill has widespread public support but has not been brought to a vote in Congress.

New York’s paid leave law comes at a time when national attention is focused on the state, as New York voters prepare to go to the polls to select their presidential nominee. Join our Digital Dialogue to urge the candidates to support paid leave for working families in every state.