A: Not much at all! The new Paid Family Leave benefit would be funded during the first year through a $0.45 weekly employee payroll contribution. However, it is also important to modernize the Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program in which Paid Family Leave would be built. TDI benefits haven’t been updated in over 25 years. The cost of updating the benefit levels would, just like it is currently, be shared by employers and employees.
Q: How much would workers receive when they took time off under the Paid Family Leave Insurance Act?
A: In the first year benefits are equal to two-thirds of a worker’s wage capped at a maximum of 35% of the statewide average weekly wage. The next year the cap increases to 40% of the statewide average weekly wage, then to 45% in the third year, and to 50% in year four. The 2013 statewide average weekly wage was $1,212.98.
A: Temporary Disability Insurance is currently jointly funded by employers and employees. Under our Paid Family Leave Insurance proposal, the program would continue to be jointly funded, but the modest premium increase of 45 cents per week for the new paid family leave benefit would be borne by covered employees.
A: Paid Family Leave would be available to virtually all workers with a new child or a seriously ill family member.
A: Multiple studies have shown the benefits to business from making the workplace more family-friendly. In fact, studies in New Jersey and California have shown that the overwhelming majority of businesses say that their state paid family leave programs have had either a neutral or positive impact on their business. Legislation like the proposed Paid Family Leave Insurance Act creates a level playing field, where all employers have the same obligation to provide a minimum standard of benefits and therefore aren’t placed at a competitive disadvantage, which allows small businesses to provide a benefit many could not on their own. In particular, studies show that paid leave helps companies keep good workers, reduces turnover costs, and increase productivity.
A: Providing working people with paid time off to deal with a family health crisis, and to care for new children will provide cost savings in a number of areas.
- Having a family member at home to care for people leaving the hospital allows for shorter and less expensive hospital stays.
- Making it possible for people to take time off when they absolutely must reduces unplanned absenteeism, presenteeism (where workers come to their workplace but work with reduced productivity because of distractions, and other demands on their time), and the costs of turnover.
- In the absence of an adequate paid family leave program, working people who have no alternative but to take time off to care for a new child or sick family member and lose their job, often must depend on public assistance programs, including TANF, food stamps, etc.
A: Research shows that the first few weeks of a child’s life are especially important for healthy development. Newborn babies and newly placed adopted or foster children need time to bond with their parents. Children recover more quickly from illnesses when a parent can take some time off from work to care for them.
A: The legislation includes clear standards requiring workers to provide medical documentation of a family member’s illness and need for care. It provides for a 7 day waiting period before benefits can begin, reducing any incentive for employees to use the benefit unless they need it.
A: In fact, it’s a global-style benefit and the United States is the odd one out. According to one study, the United States is one of only two countries (the other being Papua New Guinea) that do not have a national policy allowing parents to take paid time off to care for newborn children
A: A: California enacted a Paid Family Leave Act in 2002, New Jersey in 2009, and Rhode Island in 2014. Bills are currently being considered in other states.
Q: Like the Family and Medical Leave Act, isn’t this better enacted on a national level by Congress?
A: Yes, federal legislation is preferable, but right now it does not appear politically possible. And working families who want to spend time bonding with a newborn or who face health care emergencies, can’t afford to wait.