The announcement on Tuesday morning dovetails with plans for AARP to co-sponsor a telephone town hall with Cuomo on the issue at 5:20 this afternoon. At the same time, the organization is meeting with state legislators for the weekly lobby day at the Capitol to urge them to back the proposal.
“No New Yorker should be forced to choose between paying their bills and caring for a sick loved one,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We are going to pass paid family leave in this state and ensure fairness and dignity for all households. It’s time that we set a new national standard for supporting working families, and New York is going to lead the way.”
Cuomo’s measure, once fully phased in, would be paid for with a $1 surcharge on an employee’s paycheck and provide up to 65 percent of the average annual wage in New York.
Assembly Democrats earlier in the legislative session backed an alternative bill that would provide for 12 weeks of paid family leave, but is paid for with an expansion of the temporary disability insurance fund.
Senate Republicans have questioned the potential impact the program would have on businesses, but have not ruled out approving a version of paid family leave by the time the state budget is due on March 31.
“AARP applauds Governor Cuomo for his leadership on paid family leave,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. “Helping caregivers to assist their loved ones is a common-sense approach that results in more people being able to live independently in their home, rather than having to move into a more costly, and often taxpayer-funded institutional setting.”