On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a cabinet meeting that the New York State legislature currently lacks “the appetite” to pass paid family leave. But polls show that New York voters are hungry for just such a policy.
In a recent survey of New York City residents, we found that 84 percent of respondents supported legislation that would modernize the state’s Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program to provide up to 12 weeks of paid family leave to workers caring for a new baby or a seriously ill family member. A bill is currently before the Assembly and Senate—and is similar to paid leave laws that have already passed in California, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama called on states to pass paid family leave legislation, noting that the U.S. is “the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers.”
Paid family leave is an idea whose time has come. Since we last asked survey respondents about this policy in 2005, overall support has grown, and the intensity of support has skyrocketed. Now two out of three New Yorkers strongly favor it.
In New York State, polls show strong support for paid family leave among voters across party lines and, importantly, among small business owners.