Agreement with CSEA will provide 12 weeks of fully paid parental leave to more than 52,000 employees; if ratified, agreements with PEF and UUP would offer 12 weeks of fully paid parental leave to more than 88,000 employees
√ Builds on policy extended to more than 10,000 unrepresented state workers earlier this year
√ New York State Department of Labor will also launch statewide paternity leave awareness campaign
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced expansion of New York's initiative to offer 12 weeks of fully paid parental leave benefits to more than 80% of the state workforce.
Her team said, “As part of the governor's ongoing support for New York workers and their families, this historic shift means that the majority of state workers will have access to this crucial benefit for the first time in state history.
"No one should have to choose between a paycheck and caring for their newborn child," Hochul said. "In my State of the State, I put forward a nation-leading proposal to offer fully paid parental leave benefits to New York state employees – and today we are making good on that promise. By extending fully paid parental leave to over 80% of state employees, New York is leading by example and providing a critical line of support for hardworking families."
The governor also announced an agreement with the three largest state unions to expand paid parental leave. She announced a signed agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association, which represents New York workers in a variety of roles, to expand paid parental leave to more than more than 52,000 employees. Hochul also announced pending contract agreements with the Public Employees Federation, representing public employees with professional, scientific and technical titles; and the United University Professions, representing workers in higher education, which include fully paid parental leave benefits for members. If ratified, workers will be eligible to receive 12 weeks of fully paid leave to use for bonding with a newborn, fostered or adopted child.
Hochul’s team said, “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.”
The press release added, “Once the union contracts are ratified, more than 140,000 union employees will join the 10,000 unrepresented New York state employees who became eligible following a February policy bulletin by Gov. Hochul. Office of Employee Relations will continue to engage remaining state unions on extending this benefit to their employees through collective bargaining.”
Hochul also announced the New York State Department of Labor will develop and launch a statewide paternity leave awareness campaign, as recommended by the 2023 Gender Wage Gap Report. Her team said, “The campaign will aim to normalize paternity leave by raising awareness about the benefits available to new and expectant fathers, and highlighting how paternity leave can positively impact families and the career and salary prospects of women earners.
New York enacted the statewide Paid Family Leave law in 2016. In 2021, Hochul signed legislation expanding the law to include caring for a seriously ill sibling.
Civil Service Employees Association President Mary E. Sullivan said, "This agreement recognizes that anyone who has the opportunity to become a parent either through childbirth, adoption or fostering should be allowed to spend the time to strengthen parental-child bonds without worrying about the economic impact of being on unpaid leave. Paid parental leave will be another great benefit for our union members across New York state, and we are thankful that Gov. Hochul is staying true to her commitment to make this happen. While much of the United States is far behind other countries regarding paid family and parental leave policies, New York has definitely taken a step in the right direction."
Public Employees Federation President Wayne Spence said, "PEF is grateful to the governor for agreeing to add paid parental leave for hard-working New York parents to our contract. This new benefit will help the state attract and retain professionals, knowing they can spend time with their family and not worry about balancing their work and home lives during those precious first few months."
United University Professions President Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D., said, "Paid parental leave will provide a huge boost for working families, allowing them to care for and bond with their new children without worries about losing pay to stay home and be part of this magical experience. Paid parental leave will help draw the best and the brightest to SUNY and will be a powerful retention tool that will keep our talented, dedicated members in our classrooms, on our campuses and in our teaching hospitals. Our governor understands the importance of paid parental leave, and we thank her for spearheading the effort to bargain this important new benefit with state unions."
New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "By removing financial barriers and ensuring time for bonding with their newborns, the expansion of New York's paid parental leave program empowers parents to embrace this transformative journey without sacrificing their economic security. This bold step reaffirms Gov. Hochul's commitment to supporting working parents and recognizing the invaluable role they play in shaping our future. We stand united in our mission to build a society where every family can thrive, and this benefit is a giant leap towards that vision."
New York State Office of Employee Relations Director Michael Volforte said, "Paid parental leave will make a significant difference to working families by helping parents care for their children without the fear of losing a paycheck. Under Gov. Hochul's leadership, I'm pleased that we were able to extend this meaningful benefit to additional state employees, and I look forward to continuing to work with our union partners to extend fully paid parental leave to the New York state workforce."
New York State Civil Service Commissioner Timothy R. Hogues said, "Expanding paid parental leave to more of New York state's workforce will provide much-needed support for our dedicated public servants as they provide for their children. This marks the latest step Gov. Hochul is taking to help bolster and support the public workforce."
A Better Balance, Co-Founder and Co-President Sherry Leiwant said, "A Better Balance is proud to lead on fighting for paid leave for workers throughout the country, and we applaud the governor's expansion of paid leave for state workers. We look forward to working together to ensure that New York continues to be a leader in making sure all workers have sufficient paid leave to protect their health and the health of their families.”