By MICHAEL HILL
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — More than 10,000 New York state employees are now eligible for 12 weeks of fully paid parental leave that started last week as part of a new policy from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration.
The policy covers nonunionized state employees, including managers and administrative support workers. And it covers parents of adopted and foster children, according to the Hochul administration.
Administration officials said they will work to expand the policy to cover more than 170,000 unionized state employees through the collective bargaining process.
“The dedicated New Yorkers who keep our state moving should not be forced to choose between a paycheck and caring for their child, and this policy will establish New York state as a model for helping working families,” Hochul said in a prepared release.
One advocate said New York’s initiative is notable for offering 12 weeks of paid leave and for including adoptive and foster parents.
“In terms of parental leave, I think this is absolutely one of the best in the country for state government employees,” said Vasu Reddy, senior policy counsel for economic justice at the National Partnership for Women & Families.
This is the first time the New York state government has offered fully paid parental leave.
Eligible parents and people caring for family members in New York can receive partially paid leave under the state’s paid family leave program.
Hochul had promised to expand parental leave for state employees in her State of the State address last month.