Governor Hochul Announces Nation-Leading Proposal to Offer Fully-Paid Parental Leave for New York State Employees

Government and Politics

January 10, 2023

From: New York Governor Kathy Hochul

Provides 12 Weeks of Fully Paid Parental Leave for Unrepresented New York State Employees

Will Engage State Unions on Extending Benefit Through Collective Bargaining Process

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a nation-leading proposal to offer fully paid parental leave benefits to New York State employees as part of the 2023 State of the State. Under the initiative, unrepresented State workers will receive 12 weeks of fully paid leave to use for bonding with a newborn, fostered, or adopted child. The Governor will also direct the Office of Employee Relations to engage State unions on extending this benefit to their employees through collective bargaining.

“In those precious early days of a baby’s life, parents should not have to choose between a paycheck and caring for their newborn child,” Governor Hochul said. “By offering fully paid parental leave benefits to New York State employees, New York will continue to lead by example and provide a critical line of support for hardworking families.”

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.

New York has long led on leave, enacting the statewide Paid Family Leave (PFL) law in 2016. New York's PFL program provides most private sector employees with job-protected, paid time off to bond with a newly born, adopted or fostered child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or assist loved ones when a member of the family is deployed abroad on active military service. Eligible workers may take up to 12 weeks off at 67 percent of their pay (up to a cap) in times of need.

In 2021, Governor Hochul signed legislation expanding the law to include caring for a seriously ill sibling.

Paid Family Leave is a critical benefit for many New Yorkers. However, the law does not extend the coverage requirement to public sector employees, and the majority of the State workforce is not currently covered.

Governor Hochul will lead by example and offer State employees 12 weeks of fully paid parental leave to use for bonding with a newborn, fostered, or adopted child. The Governor will direct the Office of Employee Relations to institute this policy for all unrepresented employees as soon as possible, and will engage state unions to make progress toward this goal through collective bargaining.

Office of Employee Relations Director Michael Volforte said, “Paid parental leave will make a significant difference to working families. It will help caregivers provide for their families while remaining gainfully employed. 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.”