ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Assembly passed the Paid Family Leave Act on Tuesday.
Currently, some workers are allowed time off from work to care for family members, but they won’t get paid for it. Supporters hope the Paid Family Leave Act will give all workers paid time off and job security.
Christine Walsh, of Long Island, had a full savings account when she had her son Brendan last summer. But after taking time off to care for him, she’s seen her savings dwindle.
“Having gone through an unpaid family leave, I no longer have a savings account, and I feel that’s putting me really at a disadvantage to start out with my family,” she said.
Walsh said leaving Brendan after just six weeks and going back to work wasn’t an option for her, so she’s advocating for paid family leave.
“I just think the impact it has on the individual, myself as a worker, part of the workforce, and me being able to come back emotionally ready to go back to work and the impact that it has on him as an infant, that will just ripple into society,” she said.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said New York needs to be a leader to a more family friendly workplace.
“The United States remains the only industrialized nation in the world to not offer paid family leave or sick leave,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Heastie said unpaid leave isn’t an option for many families.
“This household struggle to remain in the middle class – every paycheck matters,” he said.
Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin agrees, but he said there are other factors to consider, too.
“How much is it going to cost?” he positioned. “How much is it going to negatively impact businesses? You have to consider all of those factors as well, so we’re going to be debating that today and trying to figure out the right path forward.”
Under the Paid Family Leave Act, workers could receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage for up to 12 weeks.
The assembly GOP is currently in discussions about their own proposal in regards to paid family leave.