Busting the Myths on Paid Family Leave

Here are some of the most common myths about paid family leave—and the real truth.

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Employers will have to pay for paid family leave benefits.

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Paid family leave benefits will be 100% paid for by small employee contributions, with zero out-of-pocket contribution by employers to pay for benefits. And because employers aren’t paying the employee on leave’s wages, employers can use that money, if necessary, to pay for any temporary replacement costs or overtime.

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Paid family will hurt businesses’ bottom line.

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The experiences of employers in states that already have similar laws show that paid family leave does not hurt businesses and can even help. In California, 92.8% of employers reported that paid family leave had a positive or neutral effect on employee turnover, saving employers the costly step of replacing an existing employee. A majority of California employers also reported positive or neutral effects on productivity (88.5%), profitability/performance (91.0%), and employee morale (98.6%).

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Paid family leave is a burden on small businesses.

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Small businesses that cannot afford to offer the same generous family leave benefits as larger companies are at a competitive disadvantage in hiring. Providing paid family leave through an employee-paid program levels the playing field for small businesses.

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Employees will abuse paid family leave.

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Employees will be required to provide proof of their need for family leave. Studies in California and New Jersey do not reflect abuse in those programs. Moreover, data from California and New Jersey show that on average workers take less than the maximum amount of time allowed by law, making clear that employees take only the time they truly need.

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Most employees already receive paid family leave from their employers.

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6.4 million New York workers, or almost 9 in 10 private sector non-farm workers, do not have paid family leave. The need is especially great in some of New York’s largest industries: 94% of retail workers and 97% of accommodation and food service workers lack paid family leave. Many employers would love to provide paid family leave but cannot afford to do so without the benefit of an employee-funded insurance system like the one currently being proposed.

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Paid family leave will impose substantial new administrative requirements.

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There are no substantial new administrative or compliance requirements for employers. Rather, the program builds on existing disability insurance infrastructure the State created in the 1950s.

Myth vs. Facts prepared by A Better Balance. For more information, visit abetterbalance.org. Videos prepared by the Community Service Society. For more information, visit cssny.org. Thunderclap prepared by Citizen Action NY. For more information, visit citizenactionny.org.