NY Assembly passes paid family leave as Senate offers its own plan; Cuomo has concerns

Associated Press

The state Assembly voted Tuesday to make New York the fourth state to provide private sector workers with paid time off to care for a new child or sick loved one.

The bill would provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave of up to $545 a week. The benefit would be funded through an employee payroll deduction that, at first, would be capped at 45 cents per week.

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"New Yorkers should not have to choose between keeping their jobs and taking care of a sick family member or spending time with a new one," Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said.

The Senate has its own family leave proposal which would provide up to six weeks of benefits. The state would initially foot the bill.

Sponsors in both chambers said they'll work on a compromise.

A spokeswoman said Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports the idea but has concerns about the details.

California, New Jersey and Rhode Island already have similar programs.

Federal law generally provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a sick relative. Assembly members said many employees can't afford to take it.

"Unexpected medical emergencies, childbirth, adoption and care of aging relatives are issues all modern families face, yet many are unable to commit the time and energy necessary to deal with these issues while balancing a full-time job," said Assembly member Michele Titus, who chairs the Committee on Labor. "Paid family leave aims to change that."