STATEMENT: After the New York State Assembly Fails to Vote on Paid Medical Leave, A Better Balance Urges Action to Protect Workers’ Ability to Care for Their Health 

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The following is a statement from A Better Balance Co-President Sherry Leiwant: 

A Better Balance is deeply disappointed that bill A.10561(Solages) / S.9840 (Ramos), which would have reformed and modernized New York’s outdated paid medical leave system, did not receive a vote in the Assembly, even after it passed through the Senate and even though the bill was consistent with the Assembly’s April budget proposal. New York’s paid medical leave system is stuck in 1989, offering workers who have a serious illness or injury a mere $170 a week in compensation without job protection or guarantee of health insurance. 

 By failing to address this, the Assembly is leaving behind millions of New Yorkers—the New Yorkers who will be diagnosed with cancer this year, those who will be diagnosed with long COVID, those managing their mental health, those living with MS, those managing heart disease, those managing substance use disorder, those recovering from a serious injury, those with complicated pregnancies or who suffer a stillbirth, and so many more. 

There is still time for the New York State Assembly to act. We urge the Assembly to return to Albany as soon as possible, and prioritize this important issue that affects all New Yorkers by voting on A.10561. No New Yorker should ever have to sacrifice their health or a paycheck, or find themselves in housing court, after taking paid medical leave to care for their health. New York lawmakers had—and still have—the opportunity to fix this injustice this session. Paid leave is an economic justice issue, a health equity issue, a racial justice issue, and a gender justice issue.

We applaud our legislative champions, Assembly Member Solages and Senator Ramos for their continued tireless dedication to this fight. We thank Assembly Member Bronson and Senator Cooney for their support, and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for their work on this issue and recognition of the importance of a strong program.

We also thank our incredible coalition including New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), the American Cancer Society, the Legal Aid Society, Long COVID Justice New York City, NAMI-NYS,Prevent Child Abuse New York, the Junior League,  the National Associaiton for Social Workers, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and UAW Region 9A, among many, many others, for all of their energy in this campaign. 

We are immensely proud to be leaders in this fight—and we won’t give up. We will continue to push for the robust and equitable paid medical leave program that New Yorkers need and deserve.

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