Family Planning Advocates join the “Strong Families, Strong New York” campaign and urge lawmakers to pass Governor’s proposal
Employee-funded proposal would ensure 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave for caring for a new child or seriously ill relative – the longest such benefits period in the nation
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Family Planning Advocates of New York State has endorsed his proposal for 12 weeks of employee-funded paid family leave. The group, which represents the state’s nine Planned Parenthood affiliates, hospital-based, county-based and freestanding family planning centers, has joined the “Strong Families, Strong New York” campaign and is urging its members to call for passage of the Governor’s proposal.
“Paid family leave will allow working women across this state to better support their families – both at their jobs and at home – and it’s time for the state legislature to make this policy a reality,” said Governor Cuomo. “By passing the nation’s strongest paid family leave policy, we will ensure greater financial security for working mothers across the state and help create stronger families overall. I’m proud to have the support of the Family Planning Advocates of New York State, and I urge all of our state’s legislators to come together and move New York forward on this issue.”
Kim Atkins, Board Chair, Family Planning Advocates of New York State, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson said, “New Yorkers want to succeed at home and on the job and Governor Cuomo’s paid family leave proposal creates a way to win for both workers and employers. By providing stability to families struggling with care issues, Governor Cuomo’s paid family leave proposal addresses a long-overdue imbalance which has historically hit our state’s women the hardest. Thanks to Governor Cuomo this proposal puts New York State in the forefront of advancing policies critical to the health and well-being of women and families.”
Tess Barker, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood North Country New York said, “Our state’s workforce faces both the demands of new families and the critical need to care for our elderly loved ones. For workers caught between caring for their families and keeping their jobs, Governor Cuomo’s push for paid family leave offers a much-needed pathway forward. New Yorkers need paid family leave now.”
Chelly Hegan, President and CEO of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood said, “Paid family leave is long overdue in New York State. Governor Cuomo’s support for this much-needed, common-sense policy means New Yorkers can care for their loved ones when critically needed without endangering their jobs. Paid family leave insurance is an important safeguard for employees which keeps families stable.”
Joan Malin, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of New York City said, "No one should have to risk their financial security to care for a new child or seriously ill family member. Unfortunately, this still happens all too often in New York and disproportionately impacts women and low-income workers. Governor Cuomo’s support for this much-needed, common-sense policy means New Yorkers can care for their families without endangering their jobs. And that's good for families, employers, and communities."
Christian Oleck, CFO and Acting CEO, Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York said, “Governor Cuomo’s call for statewide paid family leave offers a safety net, especially for women and low-income workers, to care for loved ones while safeguarding their livelihoods. Paid family leave means all New Yorkers have the opportunity to succeed at work and at home and continue to create the healthy communities we are striving for at Planned Parenthood.”
Angela Riddell, Interim President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes said, "Paid family leave remains out of reach for many New Yorkers – especially low-income people. This common-sense policy means all New Yorkers will be able to care for their loved ones when critically needed without endangering their jobs. Governor Cuomo knows that New York employees and employers both need the stability offered by paid family leave."
Ruth-Ellen Blodgett, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley said, “Paid family leave offers the insurance we all need – the safety net that allows us to care for loved ones when needed while safeguarding our livelihoods. Governor Cuomo knows that New York employees and employers will both benefit from the stability offered by paid family leave.”
Reina Schiffrin, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic said, “Paid family leave is an important safeguard for employees which keeps families stable and is long overdue in New York. Governor Cuomo’s support for this much-needed policy means New Yorkers can care for their loved ones when critically needed without fear of losing their jobs.”
JoAnn D. Smith, President and CEO of the Planned Parenthood of Nassau County said, “The people of New York shouldn’t have to choose between taking care of a loved one and losing their job. As a pre-eminent healthcare provider in Nassau County, we have seen first-hand how our patients have been forced to make choices out of fear of jeopardizing their employment. This does not have to be the reality. Planned Parenthood of Nassau County proudly supports Paid Family Leave for all workers in New York State.”
87 percent of American workers do not have access to paid family leave. The 13 percent who have access through their employers are more likely to have well-paying jobs. Federal law provides only for unpaid family leave for approximately 60 percent of workers, but many who are covered by FMLA live paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford to take unpaid leave: our system is failing poor working families.
The Governor’s twelve week proposed paid leave program will be the most robust program in the nation, because it provides double the length of paid leave than provided by any other State program, as well as a high benefit amount. Specifically, after a short ramp-up period, workers will be entitled to 67 percent of their average weekly wage, with a maximum of 67 percent of the State’s average weekly wage, which is estimated to be in excess of $1,000 per week by 2021. This program will ensure that workers will be able to afford to take vital bonding time with their newborns and provide care to sick relatives. More information on the Governor’s proposal is available at www.ny.gov/paidfamilyleave.
Paid family leave helps women, minorities, and low-income workers. For families living paycheck to paycheck, taking extended periods of unpaid leave is often unfeasible. Statewide, more than 39 percent of single mothers with at least one child under the age of 18 lived below the poverty line. Additionally, women and minorities are each overrepresented in both state and national poverty rates.
It is well established that paid family leave leads to healthier babies. An expansion of family leave has been found to increase birth weight, decrease premature birth, and lead to a substantial decrease in infant mortality. This is particularly important to reducing racial and ethnic disparities. In 2012, the mortality rate for white infants was just 3.7 for every thousand live births – but it was 5.27 for Hispanic infants and 8.96 for black infants.
California’s paid family leave program more than doubled the overall use of maternity leave – increasing it from around three to six or seven weeks for the typical new mother. The program significantly reduced disparities in who could take advantage of family leave, leading to an increase (in leave taking) of threefold for non-college educated mothers, fivefold for single mothers, and sevenfold for racial minorities.
Paid family leave helps reduce demands on public assistance. Loss of income for New Yorkers who have to care for a sick family member or a new baby can lead to serious hardship, which can lead to increased demand for state support, funded by taxpayers. Enacting paid family funded by employee payroll deductions is smart policy because it can help more working families make ends meet without public assistance.
Paid family leave helps businesses. Providing paid family leave also has numerous benefits for employers. Research from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that paid family leave helps businesses retain workers and avoid turnover – which ultimately helps reduce recruitment and training costs. Having access to paid family leave can also boost productivity, engagement, and loyalty among a business’ employees.
Paid family leave strengthens the economy. Increasing access to paid family leave will result in a stronger economy and workforce. When working parents or caregivers are able to remain in the workforce while tending to children or sick loved ones, they are also more likely to continue progressing in their careers and increasing their wages over time. This in turn yields greater support for their families, greater economy activity in their communities, and a more vibrant workforce overall. Additionally, paid family leave helps address the gaps in opportunity faced by low-income, minority and less educated workers.
Paid family leave has widespread public support. In a recent poll conducted by the Roosevelt Institute, the vast majority – 83 percent – of respondents supported paid family leave. That support crossed party lines, with 96 percent of Democrats, 85 percent of Independents and 67 percent of Republicans voicing support. Additionally, in a business survey after California’s paid family leave policy had been in effect for five years, 91 percent of employers reported the effect of the policy was either not noticeable or positive.
For more information on the Governor’s proposal and the Strong Families, Strong New York campaign, please visit www.ny.gov/paidfamilyleave.