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Local Groups Call For 12-Week Paid Family Leave

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By Faith Jessie.
Kathy Medovich is a nurse and a supporter of paid family leave in NYS. She was at work the day her mother died.

"The morning that she passed away, I was at a mandatory in service," said Kathy Medovich, paid family leave supporter.

A time she wishes could have been spent by her mother's side.

"I got there, I there for only an hour and I was called out by administration to say that my mother had passed away," said Medovich.

Medovich, along with others from groups such as the League of Women Voters and Citizen Action of New York, shared their stories at a rally held in support of paid family leave at the YWCA on Thursday. They are calling for New York to pass the paid family leave legislation.

"They're frustrated because like me, I had a high school son who had cancer and I had no paid leave to go and be with him in the hospital," said Blue Carreker, Campaigns Manager for Citizen Action.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) proposed a 12-week, employee-funded program that he says would offer the longest period of paid family leave benefits in the nation.

"It's really, I think on some level, embarrassing that the US as a whole is only one of two countries in the world that does not provide some sort of paid family leave and if we have to do it state by state while we are waiting for leadership at the federal level, then that's what we have to do," said Donna Lupardo, NYS Assemblywoman ,123rd District.

Not everyone is fully on board with the Governor's proposal. Unshackle Upstate stated that they had serious concerns about the impact of a paid family leave mandate on upstate employers. One spokesman says they are against the four week eligibility period and says this legislation could be very harmful for businesses that only employ two or three people.

"He [Governor Andrew Cuomo] says it's not going to place the direct cost burden on the employers, that there is going to be some form of a tax or fee on the employees. But we all know that when push comes to shove and that there is not enough money in that fund, it's gotta come from some place and the only place it can come from is the employers." said Lou Santoni, President of Greater Binghamton Chamber and Unshackle Upstate representative.

It's concerns like these, that continue to raise questions about the legislation.

However, NYS Assemblywoman Lupardo says she is hoping the specifics of the paid family leave legislation will be settled by the end of the month.

Something that people like Medovich are hoping for.