Bichotte hails paid family leave bill

Brooklyn Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte has hailed the State Assembly’s passage of legislation that would provide a key benefit for New York workers — paid family leave (A.3870A).

While federal law provides for unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks, most workers cannot afford to take that time off, making the Assembly’s legislation vital, said Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn.

“Workers should not have to worry about losing their economic security or their job when they need time off to nurture a newborn baby or care for an ailing family member,” she said.

“It’s time we put families first and make sure that all workers have access to paid family leave; it is the right thing to do,” she added. “The increase in worker satisfaction and employee retention will also help businesses.”

Paid family leave provides workers with paid time off to care for family members or a newborn or to address certain issues arising from a family member’s military service.

Bichotte said the federal Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees some workers 12 weeks of time off without fear of getting fired.

But, because there is no requirement to pay an employee, Bichotte said many workers are forced to choose between caring for a loved one and maintaining an income.

“The Assembly’s bill would ensure that workers could take this vital time off without having to worry about being able to cover basic expenses,” she said, noting that only about 12 percent of workers in the private sector and 5 percent of the lowest-paid workers have paid family leave.

Under the Assembly’s legislation, private employers would be required to provide a paid family leave benefit, and workers would contribute up to 45 cents per week to the policy.

“This small employee contribution would ensure up to 12 weeks of paid family leave, cover two-thirds of the worker’s salary and guarantee job security during the absence,” Bichotte said.

“In this era of extreme inequality, our efforts must be laser-focused on helping hardworking New Yorkers get ahead,” she added. “When we put families’ needs first, we are increasing fairness and keeping our priorities in order. The time has come to make paid family leave the law of the land in the Empire State.”

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