U.S. businesses lose up to an estimated $33.6 billion per year in lost productivity from full-time working caregivers. These costs are associated with replacing employees, absenteeism, workday distractions, supervisory time and reductions in hours from full-time to part-time. When employees know they have the ability to take time off from work to care for themselves or a loved family member, they experience greater job satisfaction and are more productive employees. In turn, family-friendly workplace policies such as paid family and medical leave can attract top talent employees, as paid leave and flexible workplace policies are important factors to many workers when choosing among different job opportunities. In fact the Harvard Business Review recently reported that 38% of millennial workers say they would move not just to another state, but to another country with better family and medical leave benefits. These are the skilled workers our businesses need to thrive.
A paid family and medical leave program would provide employees seeking leave with a portion of their wages for a limited number of weeks when the employee has a serious illness or assumes care-giving responsibilities for a newborn child or a critically ill relative. A study by the Small Business Majority showed what we already know to be true; the majority (59%) of small business owners support publicly administered family medical leave insurance pools paid entirely with payroll contributions by employees.
The proposal currently before the Connecticut General Assembly takes the needs of the business community into consideration by calling for the program to be funded through small employee contributions only (about .5% of an employees wages). In fact in all other states that are looking at similar legislation, Connecticut is the only state not asking for the program being funded through employer contributions or a combination of employer and employee contributions.
With minimal costs to businesses and a huge benefit to employees, and in return, to businesses bottom line, supporting paid family & medical leave makes good sense.