The legislature is expected to vote on a bill that will expand Paid Family Leave protections. Below is an OpEd our President & CEO, David Rattray, penned. We hope you also join us in amplifying your voice with regards to this very important topic for California families. Share our social media posts on Instagram and Twitter or call your legislator.
Vice President, Policy & Public Affairs
LET'S HAVE A PAID FAMILY LEAVE SYSTEM THAT PROTECTS ALL WORKERS
Right now, 40 percent of workers are at risk of losing their jobs if they take leave to care for a loved one or themselves simply because their employer is too small. We are currently living in a world where small businesses are being directly impacted by a global pandemic and their business health will greatly impact California’s economic future. Additionally, the workforce needs stability – now more than ever. The legislature has a responsibility to pass the Paid Family Leave bill before them.
As a representative of the employer community who had the privilege of serving on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) Taskforce, I and my fellow members spent many months considering data, research and the lived experiences of Californians to arrive at a plan to improve our state’s worker-funded Paid Family Leave program to benefit employers and employees alike. One of the key consensus recommendations of the Taskforce was to ensure all Californians can use the state’s PFL benefits they pay for without fear of losing their job. This proposal, which also includes funding and training resources to support small businesses whose employees take leave, was included in both the governor’s May Revise and the legislature’s budget negotiations, and is being considered as part of the budget negotiations between the two branches.
COVID-19 has exacerbated and highlighted the need for Paid Family Leave. I and the other employer representatives of the governor’s taskforce continue to believe this proposal is the right path forward for our state. Equitable access to job-protected paid leave will benefit businesses and our economy, foster prosperity for future generations, and promote racial equity.
According to new research conducted by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute that was co-commissioned by Small Business Majority, Bay Area Council and Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, increasing employee access to Paid Family Leave actually results in saving to the employer driven by increased employee retention and higher productivity. Firms employing 25 or fewer workers experience, on average, a 14 percent decrease in per worker labor costs when workers use Paid Family Leave.
The job protection proposal is particularly important because it most directly impacts low-income families and families of color. Low-wage workers are less likely to have their jobs protected, and unsurprisingly have lower take-up rates of Paid Family Leave. Nationally, 62 percent of Black adults and 73 percent of Latinx adults are either ineligible for or cannot afford to take unpaid leave, compared to 60 percent of white adults.
This is a difficult time for our state. But we have an opportunity to be on the right side of history and set an economic and equity standard for California. The governor and legislature should enact this critical proposal to promote the health, economic security and equitable futures of generations to come.
President & CEO, UNITE-LA
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