Press Release: PA James Groundbreaking Legislation to Provide Child Care Access for City Employees Passes In New York City

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 17, 2018


PA James Groundbreaking Legislation to Provide Child Care Access for City Employees Passes In New York City


Bill will establish pilot program, study long term feasibility of providing on-site, subsidized child care for municipal workers


NEW YORK — With New Yorkers struggling more every day to afford child care, today, Public Advocate Letitia James’ groundbreaking legislation to provide on-site, subsidized child care for municipal employees was passed by the New York City Council. The bill, which requires a study of potential spaces, environmental impact, and costs of such programs, will culminate in a pilot program for one or more City agencies. With the costs and demands for child care higher than ever, hundreds of thousands of New York City employees will benefit greatly from the convenient, quality, and affordable child care that the bill seeks to create.


“Child care should be a basic right for every family, but too many in New York City cannot afford the growing costs,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “Providing on-site, subsidized child care for municipal workers will be a game changer for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. We must do all we can to support hardworking families and this program is a huge step towards doing that.”


The average cost for child care for an infant in New York City is over $16,000 a year, an amount that is unaffordable for the vast majority of New Yorkers, especially municipal workers. Mothers are more likely to leave employment and less likely to start new jobs when the costs of child care are high. According to a study from Child Care Aware of America, nearly half of working parents miss an average of four days of work at least once every six months because of child care breakdowns, costing U.S. businesses about $4.4 billion a year in lost productivity and working families $8.3 billion in lost wages. These lost wages unduly impact women, who are often penalized for taking time off to have or raise children and are often underpaid when returning to the workforce.


“Child care is a critical resource for working families, as it affords parents the ability to simultaneously pursue their careers and raise a family,” said Council Member Diana Ayala. “As a mother who has relied on child care throughout my whole career, I am proud to support this legislation, which seeks to support municipal workers by alleviating the barriers they face in accessing this benefit. This bill moves our City in the right direction and reinforces our commitment to supporting families.”


“New York City parents shouldn’t have to choose between going to work or having to stay home because childcare is so expensive that only the rich can afford it,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Employer-sponsored child care guarantees working families a safe place for their children, and I’m proud to stand with the Public Advocate calling on the City to lead by example and provide child care options for its City workers.”


“The endeavor to establish municipal child care in New York City has taken a significant step towards becoming a reality with the passage of this bill,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “The child care needs of our workforce have not been met largely because the system unduly punishes those who live just outside the margins of extreme poverty. I applaud Public Advocate James on achieving today’s victory on behalf of our hundreds of thousands of dedicated civil servants, and thank her for the opportunity to support this groundbreaking legislation.”


“I applaud the Public Advocate for her focus on child care in New York City. As New Yorkers face tremendous challenges to raising a family in the City, child care becomes a financial burden to the many middle and working class families,” said Council Member Keith Powers. “As the sponsor of a bill in the Council to allow childcare to be an allowable campaign expense, I look forward to our continued work around the cost of child care in New York City.”


“There are many financial pressures on working New York City families – housing and medical costs are common topics. However, an overlooked burden on too many of our residents is the cost of child care,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera. “Thanks to Public Advocate James and my City Council colleagues, our city will look to provide child care services to public servants. With oversight and proper execution, the resulting pilot program could lead to expansion throughout government and into the private sector.”


“Supporting working parents by providing high-quality childcare, in close proximity to the workplace, is exactly the type of pro-family, pro-employee policy we should be pushing,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “And as the largest employer in New York City, municipal government should lead the way. Public Advocate James’ legislation will hopefully establish a model that can be replicated across the city, in the public and private sectors. This would be a victory for all parents, but especially for women, who often have to choose between caring for their children and building their careers. Thank you to the Public Advocate for introducing this groundbreaking legislation.”


“On behalf of the thousands of public sector working parents, many of whom are hard working DC 37 members, we thank Public Advocate Tish James and the co-sponsors of this legislation for the opportunity to study and make recommendations on ways to provide affordable, safe and accessible child care to the city’s workforce,” said Henry Garrido, Executive Director, DC 37. “In addition to needing traditional day care, our members need access to alternative hours care including late night and weekend care in order to cover the 24/7 nature of the city’s essential workforce. This work group will provide a comprehensive look at the needs of workers and will help aid in recruitment and retention of critical employees.”


“Passage of this much-needed initiative, championed by Public Advocate Letitia James, to study the feasibility of providing childcare for the children of city employees, is good news for our municipal labor force,” said David R. Jones, President and CEO, Community Service Society, a leading anti-poverty agency. “The workers who spend their days delivering services we all depend on, should not be struggling to find affordable, quality care for their own young children. Affordable child care options, along with policies we have fought for, like paid family leave, and paid sick days, are essential for upward mobility, especially for women in the labor force.”


“Bravo to Public Advocate Tish James on securing a feasibility study to ascertain the child care needs for City employees,” said Andrea Anthony, Executive Director, Day Care Council of New York. “It’s an important step towards what may become a critical service for thousands of people.”


“New York City is known as a leader on early childhood services, and deservedly so, but many of the City’s own employees still lack good child care options, and it’s time to change that,” said Betty Holcomb, Policy Director, Center for Children’s Initiatives. “Parents who show up to keep our schools, trains, busses going, and those who help repair our streets and shovel the snow, need to be sure their own children are safe and well-cared, too. Kudos to Public Advocate Letitia James for taking up this cause. We know that city employees, like other employees, will be better-focused and more productive, when they are confident that their children are in good care.”


“For working parents across the city, finding reliable and affordable child care plays an essential role in their ability to maintain stable employment and be upwardly mobile,” said Jennifer March, Executive Director, Citizens’ Committee for Children. “For children, participation in quality child care programs encourages the social, emotional and development growth needed to be prepared to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. We also know that New York City government employs more people than any other city in the country, and the stability and mobility of the municipal workforce has an influence on the city’s overall economy. With all these factors in mind, CCC strongly supports the Public Advocate’s legislation to undertake a feasibility study and pilot the provision of on-site subsidized child care for municipal workers.”


Oren Barzilay
FDNY EMS Local 2507