Federal law currently provides only for unpaid family leave, and creates a dilemma for those caught between the need to care for a sick relative or newborn and the pressure to return to work and earn money. Moreover, federal unpaid family leave only covers approximately 60 percent of all workers.
To help workers care for their families while protecting their earnings and job security, the Governor proposes a new paid family leave program for New York workers. New York State’s Paid Family Leave Program will provide twelve weeks of job-protected, employee-funded leave to be used for bonding with a new child or caring for a sick relative.
Statewide paid family leave will particularly benefit low-income workers who often lack benefits or job security, and for whom access to any leave, even unpaid, is often not available or cost prohibitive. Paid family leave also has the potential to serve as a great equalizer for women. This is so because in many instances, women who leave the workforce to care for a newborn not only forfeit their existing salaries in the short-term, but also suffer diminished future earnings and career trajectories in the long term. Establishing paid family leave marks a pivotal next step in the pursuit of equality and dignity in both the workplace and the home.
New York’s vibrant agriculture and food industries position the state to set a national example for providing consumers with transparent and meaningful information about the food they purchase and eat. In 2015, the Governor created an Advisory Committee on Safe and Healthy Foods to convene the nation’s top experts in food production and food advocacy to examine food safety and misbranding issues and to identify ways for consumers to determine which of New York’s food is the best available.
The Governor will build on this work to launch the New York State Certified High Quality Initiative – a comprehensive plan to restore consumer confidence in New York products, ensure that products are accurately labeled, and identify New York producers who adhere to best practices in food handling and environmental stewardship.
The New York State Certified High Quality initiative comprises five elements:
- Branding & Marketing: A New York State Certified seal will be made available to producer s who maintain a certified Good Agricultural Practices plan and demonstrate good environmental stewardship. Building on the success of the Taste NY program, New York will launch a full-scale advertising campaign to inform consumers that they can trust foods that bear this seal.
- Enforcement: The state will increase its ability to enforce laws against misbranding and deceptive business practices. This will protect not only consumers, but the integrity of the vast majority of honest producers as well.
- Monitoring: Inspectors from the Department of Agriculture & Markets will conduct improved, risk-based food safety on-site inspections and will increase the number of food samples to test. Further, the Department of Health Wadsworth Center Lab and the State Food Lab will enhance their partnership to monitor and protect the health of New Yorkers, through increased laboratory collaboration and enhanced testing of foods for sale in New York State.
- Training & Industry Support: The state will invest more than $4 million to train farmers in safe food handling practices and environmental stewardship through the Agricultural Environmental Management Program and the Integrated Pest Management Program. The state will also leverage the Taste NY and Farm-to-School initiatives to promote consumer interest in local, New York State Certified products.
- Investment: The state will work with the Regional Economic Development Councils to invest in local food distribution hubs that will improve access to fresh and healthy food for residents and promote local products to restaurants and institutional buyers. New York will also invest in farms that opt to convert to organic grain production.
Governor Cuomo will launch a $91 million comprehensive, statewide plan to increase rates of breast cancer screening, help women access the treatment they need, and educate thousands of men about the risks associated with prostate cancer. The State will increase women’s access to screening facilities and services across the state, and also work to ensure women receive any necessary assistance in scheduling and keeping their mammography appointments. Additionally, peer outreach efforts will be enhanced to help more women understand the importance of regular breast cancer screening and to inform men of their risks regarding prostate cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in New York. It is also the second leading cause of cancer-related death in New York women – responsible for almost 15,000 diagnoses and 2,700 deaths each year.
A top priority in the fight against breast cancer is to achieve earlier detection by getting more women screened, because it can reduce mortality and increase the likelihood of identifying cancer at an early age, when treatment is most successful. In 2014, about 78.6 percent of age-appropriate women in New York State reported receiving a mammogram at least every other year, while approximately 576,000 women had not.
The Governor is committed to increasing the state’s breast cancer screening rate by 10 percent over the next five years. As a result of the Governor’s initiative, more than 212,000 additional women will be screened for breast cancer by December 2020.
Excluding skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in New York State – each year, over 15,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and over 1,700 men die of the disease. As a result of the Governor’s initiative, 25,000 men will receive peer education and outreach services that will encourage them to discuss their risk for prostate cancer with their health care providers in order to make an informed decision about whether to be screened.
To encourage more women to get screened for breast cancer and men to be informed of prostate cancer risks, the State will implement a two-pronged public awareness campaign that focuses on underserved communities.
The state will partner with the Healthcare Education Project to raise breast cancer awareness through a media campaign that will target low income, underserved populations and encourage them to get screened. The campaign will address commonly cited patient barriers, including fear of the test, and women not knowing they should be screened. In conjunction with this campaign, the Department of Health will establish a website containing a breast cancer hotline and additional means of connecting women with the component programs in the Governor’s breast cancer initiative. The State will complement these efforts with a $5 million education and public awareness media campaign across the state over the next five years.
Additionally, to encourage more women to get mammograms, and men to discuss their risks for prostate cancer with their health care providers, the State will fund 10 community-based peer education programs throughout the State.
To increase women’s access to mammography services, the Department of Health will require hospital-based screening facilities that already offer mammograms to offer service hours at least once a week during the early morning, evening or weekend. This action will assist women who have difficulty scheduling their mammograms during the typical 9am-5pm work day.
To provide access to mammography services to women who may have difficulty getting to a fixed location for an appointment, the State will invest $59.5 million to help community providers purchase and operate mobile mammography vehicles. Mobile mammography services will be targeted in areas with a high number of unscreened women per FDA-approved mammography facility and will provide convenient, high-quality screening services.
Many women make a mammography appointment and fail to arrive or get screened and do not follow up for further consultation or treatment. To address this issue and provide coordinated care to women across New York, the State will invest $11.6 million to hire additional health care workers at cancer treatment and other health care facilities to identify and conduct outreach to patients due for breast cancer screening, address barriers to facilitate screening completion such as transportation, and assist with securing any subsequent needed diagnostic follow-up and treatment services.
Developing viable digital health and cancer screening technologies can be costly. Equally challenging for businesses are the high costs of bringing cancer treatments to the market. To assist with these hurdles, the state will invest $5 million from the New York State Innovation Venture Capital Fund to support the commercialization of promising cancer-related technologies. Funding could support products that help increase the number of women screened for breast cancer, in addition to innovations that improve the diagnosis or treatment of breast and prostate cancer.
Up to ten companies will receive state investments of $500,000 to $1 million to support research that has entered the early stages of the commercialization process. To support New York Ventures in identifying and evaluating investment opportunities, the state will establish an Advisory Board consisting of top oncologists, researchers and bioscience investors. This investment initiative will increase the opportunity for more businesses to commercialize their early innovations in cancer research.