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Businesses Support Introduction of National Paid Leave Proposal

For Immediate Release: 
February 7, 2017

Supporting employees when they need to care for their health, or that of their family, is part of the role of business.

Contact Info
Bob Keener

Washington, DC (February 7, 2017)—Today, business leaders celebrated the reintroduction of the national paid leave proposal the FAMILY Act. The FAMILY Act, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and in the House by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), will create an affordable, sustainable national paid family and medical leave program that makes paid leave available to new parents, family caregivers and employees with their own serious health issue. This benefit is currently available to only about 14 percent of employees across the country.

"We believe that supporting employees when they need to care for their health, or that of their family, is part of the role of business," said Emily Hall Warren, Director of Administration of W.S. Badger Company. "Having a family and a career should never be mutually exclusive. The FAMILY Act provides job protection and income during times of need or crisis. In addition to the benefits it provides to their family, employees who have a reasonable work-life balance are happier, more engaged, and less likely to leave their job."

States that have passed paid leave legislation have already seen the benefits. "By passing a paid family leave program, our state leaders have made New York a more attractive place to do business," said David Bolotsky, CEO & Co-founder of UncommonGoods. "Business owners understand that treating employees well is good for the financial bottom line. Paid family leave will cut costs by reducing turnover and boosting job loyalty and productivity since employees will no longer be forced to choose between losing pay or quitting their job to care for a sick family member or showing up to work distracted by their worry for a loved one.”

"Paid leave should be the law of the land,” said Julia Watts, Associate Director of Policy for the American Sustainable Business Council, which has a member network spanning more than 250,000 businesses nationally. “Many of our members, like EILEEN FISHER, UncommonGoods, and Patagonia, are high-road businesses. They already provide paid leave because they know it is the smart business decision. Paid leave will help businesses across the country attract and retain more loyal, efficient employees, boosting productivity and bottom lines. When businesses succeed the whole economy succeeds. Paid leave is an important step towards a high-road economy."

The FAMILY Act has been introduced in previous Congresses, but now has more co-sponsors at reintroduction than ever before. Currently, there are 100 members of the House committed to co-sponsoring the bill and 25 members of the Senate.

The plan will cost employers little, since it is funded by small contributions from employers and employees of just two-tenths of 1% each (two cents per $10 in wages), or about $1.50 per week for a typical employee and never more than $4.50. The U.S. remains one of only five countries — and the only developed country – that does not consistently offer paid leave for new mothers.

The American Sustainable Business Council advocates for policy change and informs business owners and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, sustainable economy. Through its national member network, it represents more than 250,000 business owners, executives and investors from a wide range of industries.