The Community Service Society applauds Mayor de Blasio for signing an Executive Order today that provides some 20,000 municipal city workers with up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave when combined with existing leave. In the weeks and months to come, we look forward to the City negotiating with the municipal labor unions to establish this important workplace benefit to even more city workers.
Today’s announcement also sets the stage for the governor and New York State Legislature to come together on passage of a statewide paid family leave law in 2016. The Paid Family Leave Insurance Act (A3870/S3004) passed the State Assembly, and is now awaiting action by the State Senate and Gov. Cuomo. It would modify the existing Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) system to offer up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to help replace lost income when workers take time off to care for a new child, a seriously ill family member or attend to the needs related to a family member’s military deployment.
A CSS report on paid family leave released this year, “A Necessity, Not a Benefit,” examined how the lives of low-income working women are affected by the lack of guaranteed paid family leave. It found that many low-income working mothers rush back to their jobs when their infants are only a few weeks old because they cannot survive without a paycheck.
It’s unconscionable that in this state, in this nation, many workers who want to take time off to care for a new baby or be a caregiver to a seriously ill relative, cannot do so for fear of losing their job or putting their economic stability at risk. New York can be a leader on this issue, as we have in the past on critical health and workplace policy, and set an example for other states to follow.