Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre: 2018 Brings Paid Family Leave and Higher Minimum Wage for Working Families

Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Babylon) announced that the state’s new paid family leave program, as well as a minimum wage increase for workers statewide, are going into effect for the New Year. The minimum wage increase and paid family leave program are scheduled to take effect on Dec. 31, 2017, and Jan. 1, 2018, respectively, and are part of Jean-Pierre’s commitment to putting Long Island families first.

“Long Islanders who put in an honest day’s work shouldn’t be subjected to poverty wages or have to fear for their jobs when a loved one falls ill,” Jean-Pierre said. “The minimum wage increase as well as paid family leave will help put working- and middle-class families closer to achieving financial security and give them greater peace of mind.”

The minimum wage will rise to $11 an hour in Nassau and Suffolk counties and will continue to increase by $1 each year until it reaches $15 in 2021. This increase will boost the paychecks of hardworking New Yorkers struggling to provide for their families. Contrary to popular belief, most minimum wage earners are adults, not teenagers. In fact, half of workers in New York earning $15 or less are 35 or older.1 Over 40 percent of New York’s minimum wage workers are married or have children.2

A higher minimum wage not only benefits workers, but also helps businesses thrive because employees who are fairly compensated are more likely to stay, work harder and increase productivity. Out of the 13 states that raised their minimum wage in 2014, 12 saw employment growth.3 A higher minimum wage also helps families buy more goods and services, further stimulating economic growth.

In addition, starting Jan. 1, 2018, new parents and caregivers will be able to take up to eight weeks of job-protected paid family leave at 50 percent of their weekly income up to 50 percent of the statewide average weekly wage. In 2019, it will increase to 10 weeks paid leave at 55 percent of the worker’s weekly wage up to 55 percent of the statewide average weekly wage, and then to 60 percent in 2020 at 60 percent of the statewide average weekly wage, reaching 12 weeks of paid family leave by 2021. Employees are eligible for the program after working at least 20 hours a week for 26 weeks, or less than 20 hours a week for 175 days. The cost of the program will be covered by small employee payroll deductions.

“For far too long, families have struggled to get by, but the New Year promises to bring a good start by offering families much-needed relief with paid family leave and another minimum wage increase,” Jean-Pierre said. “Each and every New Yorker deserves a fair shot at success, and I’ll keep working to make that a reality.”