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Governor Hochul Launches Nation-leading Initiative to Offer Fully Paid Parental Leave to New York State Employees

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Feb 15, 2023 - 08:54 AM

Governor Kathy Hochul launched a nation-leading initiative to offer fully paid parental leave benefits to New York State employees. The Governor announced in a policy bulletin that more than 10,000 unrepresented State employees will be eligible to receive 12 weeks of fully paid leave to use for bonding with a newborn, fostered, or adopted child. The majority of employees will be able to take leave starting today.

“The dedicated New Yorkers who keep our state moving should not be forced to choose between a paycheck and caring for their child, and this policy will establish New York State as a model for helping working families,” Governor Hochul said. “My administration is committed to giving our public servants the support they need because it’s not only good for their families, it’s good policy.”

Despite the well-documented positive benefits of paid parental leave to maternal and infant health, as well as family economic security and workforce retention, the United States is the only developed country in the world without a national paid parental leave policy. New parents and caregivers depend on a patchwork of various federal, state, and local leave policies, in addition to any employer-sponsored benefits.

Governor Hochul first announced this initiative as part of her 2023 State of the State. The Office of Employee Relations (OER) and the Department of Civil Service have since worked to establish the program and make it available for unrepresented State workers. Under the policy issued today, all unrepresented executive branch employees who work full-time or who work at least 50 percent part-time are eligible for this benefit, with eligibility beginning on their first day of service. OER will continue to engage State unions on extending this benefit to their employees through collective bargaining.

Office of Employee Relations Director Michael Volforte said, “Paid parental leave will make a significant difference to working families by helping parents care for their children without the fear of losing a paycheck. Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, I look forward to working with our union partners to extend fully paid parental leave to the New York State workforce.”

New York State Civil Service Commissioner Timothy R. Hogues said, “Offering paid parental leave to New York State’s workforce will truly help our hardworking public servants provide for their children and foster strong familial bonds. This is just one of the many actions Governor Hochul is taking to help bolster and support New York State’s dedicated public workforce, and the Department of Civil Service is pleased to advance the Governor’s vision.”

New York has long led on parental and family leave benefits, enacting the statewide Paid Family Leave (PFL) law in 2016. In 2021, Governor Hochul signed legislation expanding the law to include caring for a seriously ill sibling.

Source: New York State

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