April 03, 2016
The New York State Alliance for Retired Americans and its partners complete a very successful 2017 Budget Session
NYSARA and its activists and partners, in the first example of what will become the norm as a 501c4 organization, had an enormously successful budget session. We were successful in conveying the message to legislators as to why raising the minimum wage ultimately to $15 and paid family and medical leave were critical issues to seniors. We spoke with and helped shape the NYS Senate Independent Democratic Conference’s 2016 Senior Agenda. We met with Democratic Senate minority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. We stood outside the Senate Republican Conference caucus room on March 28 and spoke one on one with many of the Senators as they were discussing the budget. Our Central New York Chapter was heavily involved in promoting and advocating for both these issues. Both the minimum wage hike and paid family leave were included in the adopted 2017 New York State budget. The details of the bills:
Paid Family Leave Insurance
- January 1, 2018 – 8 weeks of leave, 2019 & 2020 – 10 weeks of leave and as of 2021 – 12 weeks of paid family leave.
- Full job security guaranteeing a return to work.
- All workers are covered at all employers.
- 50% of his or her average wages up to a cap of 50% of the statewide average wage. This will increase over 3 years to 67% (2/3) of the his or her average wage capped at 67% of the statewide average wage.
- The person taking this paid family leave must be on the job for a minimum of 6 months to qualify.
- Leave can be taken to bond with a new child or to tend to a relatives health.
- This leave will be paid for by a 70 cent per week employee contribution to start that increases to $1.47 when the program is fully implemented in 2018. There is no cost to the employer or New York State.
- This is NOT funded through the Temporary Disability Insurance fund.
Minimum Wage Increase
- $10 by the end of 2016
- $15 by 12/31/2018
- Businesses of 10 or fewer get until 2019
Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester
- $10 by the end of 2016
- Then add $1 per year till hitting $15 at the end of 2021
Upstate (Anything other than New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester)
- $9.70 by the end of 2016
- Then $.70 raise per year until it hits $12.50 at the end of 2020
- Future increases tied to the inflation index until the wage hits $15
We are a force to be reckoned with. We will only get stronger and more influential. Legislators listen to NYSARA because we represent 440,000 members and we vote in higher percentages than any other demographic group. Our next issue during this legislative session, for the health and safety of our members and seniors across New York State, will be Safe Patient Staffing.
Literally a Life and Death issue.