Washington, D.C. — Neera Tanden, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, released the following statement today after Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) and New York legislators unveiled a budget agreement that would raise the minimum wage in New York and provide for up to 12 weeks of paid family leave.
The budget deal announced today by Gov. Cuomo includes two vital components for working families—an increased minimum wage and paid family leave. Both are significant and critical steps toward ensuring that today’s workplace policies meet the demands of a 21st century economy.
A higher minimum wage across New York will help ensure that all New Yorkers, particularly those in hourly or low-wage positions, will be better equipped to provide for their families, pay the rent, and keep the lights on. The agreement laid out in the budget builds on the progress initiated by Fight for $15 and last summer’s action by the New York State Fast Food Wage Board to raise wages for New Yorkers. A $15 per hour wage, which will apply in parts of New York state, translates into $31,000 annual earnings for a worker able to access full-time employment in the state—modest wages that will help more New Yorkers make ends meet.
Every day, families across the country—including those in New York—grapple with the competing demands of work and family responsibilities, such as welcoming a newborn or caring for an aging parent or a sick child. Yet many of these families are forced to navigate these challenges without adequate workplace protections, forcing workers to choose between their caregiving responsibilities and the financial security of their jobs. New York families will now have peace of mind knowing that they will no longer be forced to choose between keeping their job and caring for a new baby or sick child or parent. Paid family leave not only will make an enormous difference for New York workers struggling with work-life balance but also will foster a healthier, more productive workforce.
The time has come for Congress to enact legislation that would provide paid leave and an increased minimum wage to all workers—not just those lucky enough to live in the few states that provide these common-sense workplace standards.
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