APP’s Efforts Contribute to Historic Win for New York’s Working Families


Late in the evening on March 31, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders finalized a budget deal that includes the strongest and most comprehensive paid family leave plan in the nation. Early on April 1, the New York Senate voted to pass this bill, and the Assembly is expected to do the same.

The passage of this Paid Family Leave program is a historic victory for New York families as this program leads the nation in ensuring that New Yorkers have access to this essential and overdue benefit. With this passage, New York becomes the fifth state, after California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Washington (although passed in 2007 but not yet implemented), to provide a state mandated Paid Leave program.

When completely implemented, this program will provide employees 12 weeks of paid family leave for life events such as caring for an infant, a family member or to relieve family pressures when someone answers the call of duty for active military service.

Below is how it will work:

  • The benefits will start in 2018. At that point employees will be able to get 50-percent of their average weekly wage, or 50-percent of the statewide average weekly wage; whichever is lower.
  • By 2021 the plan will be fully implemented, at which point employees will be eligible for 67-percent of their average weekly wage, or 67-percent of the statewide average weekly wage; whichever is lower.
  • Funding for the program will come from a “nominal” payroll deduction from employees, which the Governor’s office says will ensure the program’s costs don’t fall onto businesses themselves.
  • Under the plan employees would be eligible to participate after working for their employer for six months.

The New York Junior League’s Advocates for Public Policy (APP) committee has supported a strong Paid Family Leave program through state advocacy efforts since 2014, including partnering with the New York Paid Family Leave Coalition. During this time APP volunteers have traveled to Albany twice to meet with Senators and Assembly members to advocate for Paid Family Leave, participated in a press conference with the New York Paid Family Leave Coalition where 20,000 sign postcards were delivered to Senate Leadership, including 200 from NYJL volunteers, and coordinated grassroots efforts with the NYJL membership including publishing newslogs, social posts, and calling legislators asking them to support a strong Paid Family Leave proposal.

“I could not be more proud of APP!  It is such an honor to have been part of this historic movement for Paid Family Leave in New York.  This legislation will not only bring families an overdue benefit, but leads the nation with the most robust Paid Family Leave program.” said Sara Kern, co-chair of the Advocates for Public Policy committee.

“The NYJL’s two years of advocacy efforts, hard work, and collaboration with the New York Paid Family Leave Coalition have paid off. I am so proud of APP and the NYJL for what we have accomplished for working New York families,” said DeNora Getachew, co-chair of the Advocates for Public Policy committee.

We encourage you to celebrate this legislative victory and spread the news by sharing announcements on the NYJL’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Please call your Senator and Assembly Member to thank them for supporting millions of New York families and passing a ground-breaking paid family leave program!

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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We welcome all women who value our mission. We are committed to inclusive environments of diverse individuals, organizations, and communities.


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