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Memorandum of Support

Empire Justice Memo of Support: Amend the Worker’s Compensation Law to Provide 12 Weeks of Paid Family Leave


A.1793-B (Nolan)/S.4742-B (Addabbo)


This bill would amend the Worker’s Compensation law to provide 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave Insurance (PFLI) for workers to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill family member. 

Although the federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides many employees with 12 weeks of unpaid leave, many employees cannot afford to take leave without pay.  When workers welcome a new child or need to provide care for a seriously ill family member, they should not be forced to give up their jobs or risk their financial security.  Unfortunately, too often, a new baby or family health emergency creates an untenable situation.

Three states - California, New Jersey and Rhode Island - have taken steps to assist employees by creating a paid Family Leave Insurance as part of their Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program.  See A Better Balance, Investing in our Families, The Case for Family Leave Insurance in New York and the Nation at http://abetterbalance.org/web/images/stories/Documents/familyleave/FLI2013.pdf   

This bill would make New York the fourth state to create this benefit through its TDI system, a system which has been in place in our state since 1950 and which is familiar to employers.  The paid family leave benefits will be financed solely through small employee payroll deductions in the first year.  In subsequent years, New York’s Superintendent of Financial Services will determine the amount of employee contributions based on the cost per worker of providing PFLI through the state insurance fund.  As in the TDI program, employers will be able to provide PFLI through the state insurance fund, or they may provide benefits through a private insurer or as a self-insurer and receive reimbursement for some of their costs.

In addition, a modest increase to the state’s TDI cap - stuck at $170/week for the past 25 years - would help more families put food on the table and better care for their loved ones during critical life events.  The cost of raising the TDI benefit level will continue to be shared, as in the current TDI program, by both workers and employers.

We strongly urge New York State to join California, New Jersey and Rhode Island, and enact paid family leave insurance - helping to fuel economic growth, while at the same time reaffirming our commitment to families and children. 

This memo was prepared by:


Susan C. Antos

Empire Justice Center
119 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY  12210 


(518) 462-6831
(518) 935-2852
santos@empirejustice.org

05/29/14