STATEMENT: A Better Balance Applauds NY Leaders’ Commitment to Expanding Paid Leave; Calls for Full Passage of S2821B/A4053B in Budget

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Following the passage of the New York Senate’s one-house budget resolution today, A Better Balance’s Co-founder Sherry Leiwant released the following statement: 

“We are thrilled that both the Senate and Assembly have recognized the importance of raising the benefit level in New York’s medical leave program (known as TDI) and ensuring that workers who need to take medical leave do not lose their job or their health insurance while recovering. A Better Balance was instrumental in helping pass paid family leave for New York in 2016, but temporary disability insurance was left untouched, and has since fallen woefully behind other states with a maximum benefit of just $170 per week and no job protection.

Since Governor Holchul has also proposed increases to TDI benefits along with job protection and health insurance continuation in her budget proposal, we are hopeful that New York workers’ long nightmare of not having an adequate medical leave program will be addressed in the next budget.

We particularly applaud the Senate for including critical improvements to both the medical leave and paid family leave programs, most of which are included in the bill proposed by Senator Ramos and Assemblymember Solages, S2821B / A4053B. These changes would provide a lifeline to New Yorkers, especially those in hourly and low-wage jobs, who need time off to undergo cancer treatment, address pregnancy complications, receive substance use disorder or mental health counseling, and much more. Keeping oneself healthy should not come with fear of losing a job or falling behind on rent.

We urge the State Senate and Assembly to prioritize the important aspects of the Ramos/Solages bill as proposed by the Senate, with the addition of intermittent leave. It is essential that these important needs of New Yorkers who need medical leave be addressed in the budget negotiation process and be included in the final FY 2025 budget agreement.”


The Senate budget would raise the TDI benefit rate beginning in 2026 and in full force by 2028. The Senate’s approach would ensure that all workers will get a decent and liveable wage replacement rate up to a cap based on the Statewide Average Weekly Wage and that the improved medical leave benefit will be available for the entire length of the worker’s leave. It also eliminates lengthy eligibility waiting periods for workers and independent contractors as well as the waiting period to begin receiving TDI benefits, improves retaliation protections and adds 40 hours of paid sick leave for prenatal appointments to the New York sick leave program. Unfortunately, the Senate bill does not include the ability to take intermittent leave, i.e. leave not taken all at once, as is so important with those with serious illnesses like cancer that require treatment during the course of the year. It also does not include automatic conversion from Paid Family Leave to Temporary Disability Insurance for birthing people who suffer a pregnancy loss, such as a miscarriage or stillbirth. 

The Assembly bill, while not containing many of the important improvements in the Senate bill such as progressive wage replacement, does include intermittent leave.

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