Paid family leave: Successful in NY, soon to be nationally
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TIMESLEDGER | QNS.COM | MAY 7-MAY 13, 2021 19
BY JOSEPH P. ADDABBO, JR.
Our local communities — and America as a
whole — are slowly returning to a new sense of normality
as more Americans are being vaccinated
against COVID-19 and the positivity rates drop.
However, there is still much work to do to bring our
communities and country not only back to normal,
but even better than before.
One way we as elected officials, both locally and
nationally, can strengthen the American workforce
and begin to rebuild our economy is to better
protect and care for our workers by creating strong
safety nets for them. The middle class makes up a
large portion of the American workforce, and it is
imperative that we have a strong foundation that
allows more Americans the sense of safety knowing
that if they have a baby who is ill or need to
care for a family member that they will be financially
Here in New York, I worked towards ensuring
that our workers have the time off they need
with New York Paid Family Leave. This initiative,
which became state law in 2016, is funded by the
employees themselves through payroll deductions
and provides workers with a portion of their salary
during their leave. In 2021, eligible employees in
New York state will have access to up to 12 weeks of
job-protected, paid time off for a host of issues, including
being under quarantine due to COVID-19.
Now our federal government intends to emulate
our success and bring a paid family leave program
to the entire country. On April 28, President
Joe Biden announced the American Families Plan,
which will invest in our children, families and economic
future. This once-in-a-generation investment
will bolster the foundations of middle-class prosperity
including education, health care and childcare.
The American Families Plan will create a national
comprehensive paid family and medical leave program,
much like we have here in New York.
The national program will ensure workers receive
partial wage replacement to take time to bond
with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one,
deal with a loved one’s military deployment, find
safety from sexual assault, stalking or domestic
violence, heal from their own serious illness, or
take time to deal with the death of a loved one. It
will guarantee 12 weeks of paid parental, family
and personal illness/safe leave by year 10 of the
program, and also ensure workers get three days of
bereavement leave per year starting in year one.
This plan will provide economic security to
families across the country – ensuring everyone
has the opportunity to contribute to the economy,
while caring for themselves and their families. By
allowing workers to take time off to care for their
health and the health of relatives, it creates a stronger,
healthier and more productive workforce.
Together, we can rebound from the pandemic and
build back our society even stronger than before.
Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. is the state senator for the
15th Senate district in Queens.
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