Ayana was still in the hospital with her newborn daughter when she started getting calls from her employer asking when she would return to work. She used up one week of vacation time and took a handful of unpaid days, before going back to work in fear of losing a job she needed—just two and half weeks after giving birth.
Ayana is not alone.
In New York City, 50,000 women are employed during their pregnancies each year and plan to return to work. Far too many are forced to rush back to their jobs when their infants are only a few weeks old because they cannot survive without a paycheck. That’s bad for the health of new moms, bad for their babies’ development, and bad for businesses that lose dedicated, experienced workers.
We can change that in the next six weeks.
New York is close to passing a law that would modernize our temporary disability insurance program to include paid family leave. New moms—and dads—could get up to 12 weeks of insurance benefits to help replace lost income when they are home with their newborns. Workers could also use paid family leave to care for a seriously ill family member, like an aging mother who suffered a stroke. Insurance makes paid family leave affordable for workers and businesses. It’s paid for by employees through weekly paycheck deductions of less than $1 a week.
Other states like California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island already have similar systems in place.
Just how close is New York to making this happen? The Assembly has already passed a bill. Now the State Senate and the Governor need to act before the legislature goes home in June.
Act now to send a message to Governor Cuomo and your State Senator. Tell them it’s time to give Ayana and all New York’s working moms something they really need this Mother’s Day: Paid Family Leave.