Paid family leave can be a win-win for workers and employers

Even before the Family and Medical Leave Act was enacted, small-business owners “often allowed employees time off without the government telling them how to do it,” said Molly Day, vice president of public affairs at the National Small Business Association.

Most of the association’s members — 83 percent — already have some kind of paid sick leave, according to Day, with the majority offering 11 days or more.

The administration of the existing law has been a problem for businesses. “Paperwork and legal requirements have overwhelmed small-business owners,” Day said.

It’s not that business owners are indifferent to the needs of their workforce. “As small-business owners, our members often employ family members, neighbors and friends,” Day said. “They understand the value of providing those employees paid time off.”

The problem is the increased paperwork and reporting requirements that crop up in the wake of government involvement regarding “something they’re already doing,” Day said.

“On one side, there is a concern it will become an administrative burden, with employees missing weeks at a time and employers having to ‘on-board’ replacements for short time periods,” said Sushma Tripathi, vice president of workforce strategy and compliance at ADP.

On the other hand, Tripathi says some employers favor paid leave because it boosts retention. In the long run, this saves on company expense for employee training.

Common assumptions about the impact on business are increased costs and the administrative burden. These are mostly baseless fears, according to the New York State Paid Family Leave Coalition.

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