NEW YORK – Assemblymember Aravella Simotas is teaming up with woman-owned law firm Berke-Weiss Law to help improve the lives of expecting and new parents by offering a free seminar in Astoria, “Workplace Rights for the Modern Parent.” The seminar is designed to help pregnant working women and their partners interact and negotiate more effectively with their employers and health insurance companies.
“I am committed to helping pregnant women and new families navigate laws and understand their rights so that their jobs are not imperiled and their health and babies’ health are protected. We need healthy families to be a healthy community,” said Assemblymember Simotas.
The seminar will be held on Thursday, September 14 at 7 PM. People wishing to attend need to RSVP by calling Simotas’s office at 718-545-3889.
The specific Astoria location will be chosen based on the number of people who express interest in attending and everyone who RSVPs will be notified.
During the 90-minute seminar, Simotas and attorneys with Berke-Weiss Law’s “Pregnancy Project NY” will explain how to navigate the state’s new Paid Family Leave Act, which takes effect in January 2018 and other important topics including: how to tell your employer you’re pregnant; asking for accommodations from your employer; how to contest a medical bill; how to enroll your child in health insurance, and more.
In 2015, the state enacted legislation sponsored by Assemblymember Simotas that made pregnancy a qualifying event for getting health insurance outside the designated enrollment periods and by doing so enables women to gain access to prenatal care. In 2017, the state adopted Simotas’ “baby box” bill which establishes a pilot program to distribute a safe, portable sleep space – literally baby boxes – for infants six months and younger, in areas of the state with the greatest infant mortality rates.
Simotas, a lifelong resident of Astoria, Queens, represents New York’s 36th Assembly District in Western Queens. In 2010, she became the first Greek-American woman elected to office in New York and the first woman elected to office in her district. She and her husband, John Katsanos, were married in 2004 and reside in Astoria with their young daughter.