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State lawmakers push for enhanced temporary disability insurance

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Earlier this year, Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York Legislature appeared to agree on modernizing the state’s outdated Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) system, which has not seen an increase in benefits for 35 years. However, a proposal to raise the maximum paid medical leave benefit from $170 per week was unexpectedly removed from the state’s $237 billion budget after Governor Hochul proposed reducing the benefit to 20% of a worker’s average weekly wage for the second half of the 26-week program.

Assembly Labor Committee Chair Harry Bronson criticized the governor’s proposal, emphasizing that it unfairly suggests workers might exploit the system. Bronson is now sponsoring a bill to increase the TDI cap to 50% of an employee’s average weekly wage, potentially rising to 67% over four years. This change would be funded by both employee and employer contributions, not impacting state finances.

As the legislative session nears its end on June 6, lawmakers, including Sen. Jeremy Cooney and Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, are advocating for enhanced support measures, including expanding Paid Family Leave for state workers and addressing specific needs such as provisions for women who experience a stillbirth. The ongoing efforts underscore the Legislature’s commitment to supporting New Yorkers in need, particularly those facing significant health challenges.

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