In August each year, we celebrate National Breastfeeding Month. It’s an opportunity to recognize the importance of breastfeeding and consider the challenges still before us in ensuring all mothers can breastfeed if they choose. Paid leave is an essential tool in establishing and sustaining breastfeeding.
A new report shows encouraging claims numbers—especially by men—in the program’s first year
The New York Office of Paid Family Leave just released a report with findings from the first year of the state’s paid family leave program—and good news, it’s working! The data provides a snapshot of how successful the program already is across the state.
In 2016, New York passed the paid family leave law to provide covered employees with job-protected, paid time off to:
- bond with a new child
- care for a seriously ill family member, or
- address certain military family needs.
With this landmark achievement, which we are proud to have played a key leadership role in passing, New York made paid family leave available to more than 8.5 million working New Yorkers. According to the report, New Yorkers are making use of the law. In the program’s first year, more than 86,500 working New Yorkers took paid family leave to bond with their new child, while approximately 39,000 employees took paid family leave to care for a seriously ill loved one. What’s more, the data shows that the paid family leave insurance market is stable and that the program is sustainable.
The report’s data on men’s usage of paid family leave is another key indicator of the program’s success: nearly a third of those who took bonding leave were men. These findings coincide with the release of our new resource: Your Paid Family Leave Rights: A Guide for Dads and Male Caregivers in New York State.
When men are able to take paid family leave, everyone benefits: fathers are better able to bond with their new children, children in two-parent households have more time to receive direct care from a parent, and workplace and household gender equality are advanced.
Since the law’s passage, we have been hard at work ensuring New Yorkers can take advantage of their paid family leave rights. Through our free, confidential legal helpline, we have seen how the law makes New Yorkers’ families healthier, happier, and financially stronger. We’re happy to see the numbers bear out how critical this law has been for families, and we’re hopeful that this news will further motivate other states and the federal government to provide paid family and medical leave for all workers.