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Biden joins Cuomo in rally for paid family leave

Vice President Joe Biden joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York City Friday for a rally to encourage the adoption of paid family leave.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo gathered together the same union coalition who has joined him to back the $15 an hour minimum wage effort in the campaign style rally for his newest cause.

“Now is the time to pass paid family leave,” Cuomo told the cheering crowd.

The governor once again invited Vice President Joe Biden, who said family leave only works if it’s subsidized.  

“The neighborhood I’m from, which is a middle class neighborhood, I don’t know anybody who can go three months without a paycheck,” Biden said.

The vice president joined Cuomo for the minimum wage effort last September.

Critics, including the Democratic Assembly speaker, say Cuomo’s plan does not go far enough. It would give workers initially just 35 percent of their paychecks when they take up to 12 weeks of leave. And, employees would have to finance the plan through small deductions in each pay check.

Karen Scharff, with the progressive leaning group Citizen Action, also questioned whether the governor’s actual proposal is adequate.

“We thank Gov. Cuomo for elevating this issue to give it the attention it deserves, but we have to get the policy details right so all workers benefit," Scharff said in a statement.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.