A New York Perspective on National Work and Family Month

Credit: New York State AFL-CIO

October is recognized as National Work and Family Month. This commemorative month is dedicated to work and family issues and encourages all workplaces to consider the progress made towards work-life effectiveness.

This October, the New York Junior League’s (NYJL) Advocates for Public Policy (APP) committee is recognizing the intersection of state policy and work-life issues. In honor of National Work and Family Month, APP highlights an issue that could affect all NYJL volunteers – Paid Family Leave.

According to the New York State Assembly, the Paid Family Leave Act (PFLA) will “enable all workers to maintain employment and still receive some income while on leave to care for an elderly relative, manage an unexpected medical emergency, or bond with a newborn or adopted child.” The legislation will accomplish this by expanding New York’s existing Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program to cover a worker who needs time off to care for a loved one.

PFLA could have a huge impact on women and families in New York. It would provide 88% of currently unprotected New Yorkers with some form of paid maternity or family leave from their employers. 

There is momentum for paid family leave legislation both on a national and state level. On the national level, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is leading the effort in Congress to pass a paid-leave policy as part of her “American Opportunity Agenda.” On the state level, Governor Cuomo has stated that he is waiting to sign an acceptable version of the policy and has urged members of the Legislature to pass a balanced proposal, despite initially having no “appetite” for paid family leave in New York.

Given the growing momentum in favor of this legislation and the fact that it could potentially affect many NYJL volunteers, APP plans to continue supporting PFLA. In November 2015, APP will attend the fall conference of the New York State Public Affairs Committee of the Junior Leagues (NYSPAC). At the NYSPAC fall conference, delegates from all 17 Junior Leagues statewide will vote on NYSPAC’s priority issue. Our goal at fall conference is to drum up interest with the other Junior Leagues across New York State to make PFLA NYSPAC’s priority issue.  Doing so would be consistent with APP’s successful advocacy day championing PFLA in May 2015.

Advocacy has strength in numbers!  Having seen firsthand the benefits and thrill of advocating on a grassroots level, APP encourages all NYJL volunteers to join their efforts!  Regardless of your current committee placement, you can join the APP committee in Albany for advocacy day.  Please contact the committee via email advocates@nyjl.org to sign up or to learn about more opportunities to get involved!

Strengthening the families of the greater New York area.

The New York Junior League is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

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