Parental leave policies have received enormous attention this year. Well-known tech companies, including Etsy, Netflix, Amazon, Spotify, and Facebook have either reformed or revamped their family leave policies to offer more time off for both parents. So far, though, most of that change hasn't been at the state national level. But that might be changing: Today, New York becomes the fourth state to pass a strong family-leave program that guarantees paid time off for almost every employee, regardless of gender.
The new policy, passed as part of the 2016-17 budget, isn't just for new parents—it's a "paid family leave" policy, which allows new parents (including foster parents) to take time off for new children and also permits employees to take leave in order to care for a critically ill family member. In 2018, employees are guaranteed up to 8 weeks off of work; in 2019 and 2020, they will be allowed up to 10, and by 2021, they will have up to 12 weeks of leave per year. The policy ensures job protection and continuation of benefits for both part- and full-time employees. What's more, the new state budget increases the required minimum wage to $15 for all employees.
In a press release from the governor's office, Governor Andrew Cuomo said: "We believe that people who work hard should be able to earn a decent living and support a family with dignity. With a statewide $15 minimum wage and the nation’s only 12-week paid family leave program, we are going to prove that the economy can and should work for all."
Democratic Caucus Leader Jeffrey Klein added: "Nobody will ever have to choose between what their heart tells them to do and what their bank account allows them to do."