The following is a statement from A Better Balance Co-Founder and Co-President Sherry Leiwant:
“In a press conference today which I was honored to attend, Governor Hochul announced historic new expansions to New York’s Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program along with other trailblazing proposals to make life in New York more affordable for all families. Her TDI proposal will raise the program’s wage replacement rate and make it possible for New Yorkers to take the time they need when they have an illness or injury without risking their economic security. The proposal will bring benefits in line with the state’s landmark Paid Family Leave program, which A Better Balance helped pass in 2016. We are thrilled by Governor Hochul’s commitment to continue New York’s legacy as a trailblazer for workers’ rights by improving our paid medical leave program.
We at A Better Balance have led the charge in calling for paid family and medical leave for all workers in New York and nationwide, and in highlighting the urgent need for modernization to the state’s medical leave program, where benefits have remained at their 1989 capped rate of $170 per week, in stark contrast to the paid family leave program, where benefits average over $1,000 a week. Last year, we released a report, The Time Is Now, illustrating how New York can build out the state’s TDI program to better meet the needs of those who need to take time away from work due to medical needs. Those urgent medical needs include addressing things like cancer, and chronic illness, as well as maintaining a healthy pregnancy, a key determinant of maternal and infant health – particularly for working Black women in the state, who are faced with an unacceptable maternal health crisis without access to vital structural support. We also want to thank our partners in the strong coalition we have built to fight for this improvement in medical leave benefits. We won’t stop fighting until paid family and medical leave is a right for all workers.”