I reported in my last post that Governor Cuomo’s 30 day budget amendments included an enhancement of his paid family leave proposal. I had said that the Governor would raise it to 67% of the worker’s weekly wage. I said this would start at 35% of the weekly wage, however, this should be corrected to 50% of the weekly wage as the Paid Family Leave coalition requested. Also the statewide average weekly wage cap is raised to 67%. See the outline of changes below
Major 30-day amendments:
Benefit level. The amendments revise the original proposal with respect to both wage replacement and cap on the benefit levels. The cap and wage replacement rates will both start at a higher percentage than in the original and go up to a higher level at the end of 4 years.
The Governor’s new phase in/wage replacement/benefit cap proposal is as follows:
2018: 50% of a worker’s own average weekly wage up to 50% of the statewide average weekly wage
2019: 55% of a worker’s own average weekly wage up to 55% of the statewide average weekly wage
2020: 60% of a worker’s own average weekly wage up to 60% of the statewide average weekly wage
2021: 67% average weekly wage up to 67% Statewide average weekly wage
Protecting health insurance during leave. Addition of language indicating that any health insurance provided to the employee by the employer must be continued during family leave on the same terms it was provided before the leave.
Self-employed opt-in. Allowing self employed individuals to elect coverage under paid family leave.
Public employee opt-in. Public unions may opt their employees in to the paid family leave program through collective bargaining; also in Nolan/Addabbo
Timeline for contested claims extended. The time for claimants to challenge a benefit determination was extended from 60 days to 26 weeks for both TDI and PFL.
Enforcement of job protection clarified. Job protection was strengthened by clarifying the enforcement provision.
Correction on funding for aging services:
I noted that $177 million in funds for enhancing aging community services was requested by LiveOn-NY, Lifespan and AARP. AARP was not part of that recommendation but rather the New York Association on Aging representing area agencies on aging.
In addition StateWide Senior Action Council has made the following recommendations separately:
1. Increase appropriations to reduce waiting lists in these vital services
2. Ensure that additional funds added do not require a match by local governments in order for the funds to be distributed.
3. Commit to a multi-year investment of additional resources to bring core services into alignment with the client population growth.
4. Provide sufficient funding to local offices for the aging to meet the minimum wage increases for home care workers.
The following StateWide recommendations were made jointly with AARP:
Community Services for the Elderly program (CSE): additional funding during budget negotiations in order to eliminate waiting lists. Request an additional $25 million, with no local government match required.
Caregiver Supports: an additional $30 million in order to create additional respite and caregiver support services.