Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to establish a paid leave program for workers is popular among New York voters.
According to a new Siena Research Institute poll, 80 percent of New Yorkers support providing workers with 12 weeks of paid leave. The program would be funded by employees through a payroll deduction.
A vast majority of Democrats — 87 percent — endorse the paid leave plan. More than two thirds of Republicans — 69 percent — also support Cuomo's proposal.
Siena pollster Steve Greenberg noted that GOP voters are a big reason why paid leave enjoys strong support statewide.
"Republicans oppose the governor's minimum wage proposal 62-36 percent — differing sharply from Democrats and independents — they support his family leave proposal 69-29 percent, only a little less strongly than Democrats and independents," Greenberg said.
Cuomo first announced the push for paid leave during his State of the State and executive budget presentation. He joined Vice President Joe Biden at a rally Friday in New York City to build support for the plan.
To make the case for paid leave, Cuomo discussed his father's final months and the importance of being at his side.
The governor's father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo, died on Jan. 1, 2015.
"There are times in life when you should be with family members because that's what it's all about at the end of the day," Cuomo said Friday. "It's not about work. It's about those personal relationships."
While polls suggest there's strong support for Cuomo's proposal, business groups have spoken out against paid leave.
Michael Durant, the National Federation of Independent Business' New York state director, said forcing small businesses to provide paid leave would be "dangerous."
"This is simply a solution in search of a problem and would be yet another government mandate on small business," he said.
Assembly Democrats support implementing some form of paid family leave in New York. Speaker Carl Heastie said the chamber has passed legislation in the past to extend the benefit to New York's workers. But it hasn't received a vote in the state Senate.
Paid leave faces an uphill battle in the state Senate. State Sen. John DeFrancisco said it would be another burden for businesses.
Biden, who praised Cuomo's plan, urged the state Legislature to act on the proposal this year.
"This is in everybody's interest, including the employer," he said. "Let's get it done now."