Comparison of Assembly and Cuomo Positions on Paid Family Leave

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Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says that paid family leave will again be a priority for the Democratic majority in the State Assembly.  That chamber passed a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan that had the support of the coalition for family leave. Heastie said he is glad Governor Cuomo has put the issue forward as one of his priorities but that he still prefers the Assembly version.  The Senate is open to considering the bill though some are saying it is a further hindrance to businesses in the state.  However, the entire program is employee paid though the Assembly version would also increase disability benefits for which businesses share in the cost.

Advocates for paid family leave also are very happy that the Governor has included the family leave proposal in his budget though it comes up short of what the coalition wanted with a program that people can actually use.  Discussions are continuing with the Governor’s office.  Key areas of concern are differences in the amount of “replacement wages.”  The Governor’s proposal would only cover one third of wages phasing up to one half.  The coalition wants to cover two thirds of the wages.  See the details below on this item and other differences in the proposals.  The coalition will have a lobby day in Albany on next Tuesday, February 2nd.  For more information go to

Length of leave time – up to 12 weeks in both the Assembly/coalition bill and the Governor’s proposal

Purpose of leave – bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill family member; address issues arising from a family member’s military service – same for both proposals

What family members can a workers take leave to care for?  – child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, grandchild, grandparent, sibling or parent of spouse or partner – same for both proposals

Employer rules – All employers regardless of number of employees must offer the benefit and are required to hold the worker’s job for up to 12 weeks

Wage replacement rate – Assembly/coalition proposal : 2/3 of the worker’s average weekly wage ; Governor’s proposal:  35% of average weekly wage in 2018, 40% in 2019; 45% in 2020 and 50% in 2021

Benefit Cap – Year 1:  35% of statewide average weekly wage (currently $1266); Year 2:  40%, Year 3: 45%, Year 4: 50% – both proposals are the same except the Governor’s specifies that Year 1 is 2018

 Funding – 100% employee paid in Assembly/coalition bill and Governor’s proposal

Maximum employee pay – Year 1: Assembly/coalition proposal:  maximum of 45 cents/week; Year 2 set by Department of Financial Services in consultation with an advisory council; Governor’s proposal :  set by Department of Financial Services

Temporary Disability Insurance benefits – Assembly/coalition bill would raise to the same level as paid family leave benefits;  Governor’s proposal  no increase in disability benefits









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I have been a senior advocate for most of my career. I was Executive Director of the New York StateWide Senior Action Council and the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans. In 2007-2010 I was the Director of the New York State Office for the Aging

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