Senator Klein introduces new Paid Family Leave legislation

Bill would grant New York’s hardworking families 12-weeks paid leave by 2017

Albany, NY —  State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) introduced Paid Family Leave legislation (S.3301A) on Monday that would grant New York’s hardworking families up to 12-weeks off to take care of a newborn or a sick loved one without fretting over finances.

“No person should ever have to choose between what their heart is telling them to do and what their bank account allows them to do. Dealing with the magical time of welcoming a newborn into the world or the essential time of seeing a loved one through a serious illness shouldn’t be a luxury for the few. We must make it a priority to pass my Paid Family Leave bill to give the workforce the time off that they need to deal with the ups and downs of life,” said Senator Klein.

Long a champion of Paid Family Leave, Senator Klein’s bill puts no burden on businesses and could cost employees as little as 27 cents a week. If passed, it could take effect by 2017 with benefits incrementally increasing as employees pay into the system until 2020 when full benefits are realized.

Under this proposal, workers taking Paid Family Leave could receive:

·  ⅔ of the employee’s average weekly wage, up to 35% of the statewide average weekly wage by January 1, 2017.

·  70% of the employee’s average weekly wage, up to 40% of the statewide average weekly wage by April 1, 2018.

·  75% of the employee’s average weekly wage, up to 45% of the statewide average weekly wage by April 1, 2019.

·  80% of the employee’s average weekly wage, up to 50% of the statewide average weekly wage by April 1, 2020.

A Paid Family Leave eligible employee must work for a business for at least four weeks.

Federal law allows workers to take 12-weeks of unpaid family leave, but working- and middle-class New Yorkers cannot afford to be out of work for without pay for a three month period.

California, New Jersey and Rhode Island have enacted Paid Family Leave proposals.

“As a father of two young children, I know first-hand how important it is for a parent to be there for a child in their early years. Unfortunately many families are forced to make the unfair choice of being able to truly care for their newborn or earn the income they need to survive. Enacting comprehensive paid family leave will greatly improve the quality of life of countless middle class New Yorkers. We owe this to our children and our children's children,” said Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland).

“As the cost-of-living in New York rises, it has become increasingly difficult to raise a family or care for a sick loved one, while trying to keep your financial head above water. Many families struggle with choosing between their personal and work lives, when they should be focused on welcoming a new family member or staying by their loved one’s bedside. New York State has always been a leader, and now is the time for us to lead again - we must pass Paid Family Leave,” said Senator Diane Savino (D-Brooklyn/Staten Island).

“Upstate New York has always had some of the hardest working families in the state. When families are faced with a big change - the arrival of a child or a family member’s illness - they deserve the peace of mind that, after working hard every day, they will not be forced to choose between caring for those who are most important or their paycheck. That is why I am proud to support Paid Family Leave. Together, we can ensure that every family has the peace of mind they deserve,” said Senator David Valesky (D-Oneida).

“As a long time advocate for affordability in New York, I understand how important Paid Family Leave is to New York’s working and middle class families. Raising a family in an increasingly expensive city has left many people trying to balance their budget over spending time with loved ones when they are most in need. Many New Yorkers already recognize this - with 80 percent of New Yorkers supporting Paid Family Leave. It’s time for the legislature to recognize this, too, and to pass Paid Family Leave,” said Senator Avella.