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Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visits the Y

Yesterday, the YMCA of Long Island, and our Great South Bay YMCA, in particular, was honored to play host to United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. At a 1:00 pm press conference at the Y, Senator Gillibrand announced federal legislation that would create paid family and medical leave. The Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program, ensuring that American workers would no longer have to choose between a paycheck and caring for themselves or a family member. 

At the Y, we know all too well that it takes a village (and a government, and schools, and a community… and a Y!) to nurture and strengthen family connections.  Families today increasingly struggle to balance work, financial obligations and family needs. It is a strain that we at the Y try very hard to alleviate with services such as child care, camp, programs that build character, and financial assistance.  However, when the normal course of life and financial security is interrupted by the joyous birth of a child or a troubling and unexpected family illness, that delicate balance can fall apart quickly, making families extremely vulnerable. The Family and Medical Insurance Leave aims to provide that extra cushion of support families may need.

At the press conference, Gillibrand expressed concern that women, who represent 48% of the workforce, bear the greatest burden when it comes to taking time off from work and careers to care for newborn children and/or sick family members. Gillibrand explained that when people take time to care for their families, it’s not just that careers are stalled and retirement savings are interrupted, but also that employers are impacted with loss of productivity and the costs of retraining and replacing workers.

Gillibrand’s proposal outlines a program that offers workers 12 weeks paid leave at 66 percent of an employee’s typical monthly wages up to a capped monthly amount.  The plan is designed to be a self-sustaining benefit like social security, where the benefits travel with individuals from job to job.  The basic design is that employees and employers would each contribute 0.2 percent of wages. The proposed insurance would be administered by the Social Security Administration, using existing infrastructure and minimize implementation costs.

Over the next six months, Gillibrand expects to gain wide support from both parties, since family issues are universal. While we don’t know where this bill will end up, the one thing we are certain about is that families always need the support of their communities! As advocates for kids, families and communities, we will keep an eye on this and other legislation that will impact our families. In the meantime, we will do what we do best – reach out, support and help however we can. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Rob January 26, 2014 at 01:43 PM
Don't think so Kev. We are 17 Trillion in debt and have 90 Trillion in unfunded liabilities. We are far from outa the woods as seen here http://www.gao.gov/special.pubs/longterm/ Also , your link did not work but I will take your word for it. This is not a democratic or republican problem. They are both equally at fault at spending way to much and creating a growing dependent society. We truly need term limits because there are to many voters who keep drinking the Koolaid or are way uninformed and just vote on party lines. So sad but true
TJ Eckleburg January 26, 2014 at 04:38 PM
Well said, Kev!
Gene January 27, 2014 at 07:03 AM
I want to thank Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for her concern about how we need the Governments help again. I am a member of the 52% of the people (yes the them of Us vs. Them) who make up the workforce and has taken time off to care for family members and took time off to take care of kids when my wife had to work. But I will have to say no to the following, "The basic design is that employees and employers would each contribute 0.2 percent of wages. The proposed insurance would be administered by the Social Security Administration, using existing infrastructure and minimize implementation costs". No more Taxes, let me repeat No more Taxes. If the government is so worried about us then slim down the size and fund it out of the savings or give back to the citizens and we can figure it out.
cynthia kouril January 27, 2014 at 08:32 AM
Certainly no more payroll tax on people making under $110,000. But lifting the cap? That would be fair.
Rob January 27, 2014 at 08:50 AM
A flat tax would be fair http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer There is probably over a trillion dollars in the underground economy. The politicians will never go for this as it would take away so much of their power

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