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Heastie willing to negotiate paid family leave funding

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he's willing to

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he's willing to negotiate the biggest sticking point in competing paid family leave bills. Credit: /

ALBANY — Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Tuesday he’s willing to negotiate the biggest sticking point in competing paid family leave bills.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Democratic Sen. Jeff Klein, who is sponsoring the leading Senate bill, want to fund the benefit through a small fee — as little as 20 cents a week under Klein’s bill — charged to all workers. Klein leads the Independent Democratic Conference, which works closely with the Republican majority, and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) has said he’s open to Klein’s idea.

The Assembly’s Democratic majority, however, has sought to make family leave a benefit paid for by the state disability insurance fund, which is funded by charges to employers. The supporters said they didn’t want to burden low-wage workers with the costs.

“We’re always open to suggestions,” Heastie (D-Bronx) said Tuesday. “It’s a three-legged stool and we’re always open.” He emphasized, however, that the Assembly position hasn’t changed yet.

The Senate’s Republican majority has so far rejected any proposal that would put the burden on employers. Each of the competing bills would provide New Yorkers up to two-thirds of their wages for up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for the birth of a child or serious illness of a family member.

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