Getting Down to Business (June 2013)

June 06, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai

Getting Down to Business: News on Employers and Paid Leave
June 2013
In this Issue

Getting Down to Business is CLASP's monthly update on business and paid leave news. If you have news you want to share with your colleagues around the country, let us know.  And be sure to let your area businesses know about Better Workplaces, Better Businesses, a website that aggregates news and research related to business and paid leave and highlights business supporters of paid leave from around the country.

Progressive Business Associations to Launch “Better Workplaces, Better Businesses” Website

The first-ever national compilation of business supporters for earned sick days and family leave insurance will soon be available through a partnership between the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), the Main Street Alliance (MSA), and Social Venture Network (SVN). Previously, listings of businesses supporting paid leave legislation were only available on sites for individual campaigns. “Better Workplaces, Better Businesses” will not only offer a central listing of businesses that support state and local laws providing employees earned sick days and family leave insurance, but also provide the latest business and leave news clips, research, polling, business testimony, and more. The site will launch with a listing of almost 270 supporters of local and state campaigns. The number is expected to grow as more campaigns get underway. Even businesses in communities that don’t yet have a campaign can sign up to pledge their support for earned sick days and family leave insurance at the local, state, and federal levels. Watch for an email from us very soon once the site is live!

In Congress: OR Business Owner Speaks Out for Healthy Families Act and Sick Days

“Race-to-the-bottom economics” is bad news for everyone, according to small business owner Jim Houser. That’s why Houser strongly supports federal earned sick days legislation. Houser and his wife co-own and operate Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, Oregon. He is co-chair of the Oregon chapter of the Main Street Alliance and serves on the Executive Committee and National Steering Committee. Houser was instrumental in securing an earned sick days law in Portland, and now he is advocating for federal legislation. During a panel at a U.S. Senate briefing on May 2, he explained, “Reasonable employment standards as proposed in the Healthy Families Act level the business playing field by requiring all employers to play by the same rules, freeing small business owners from the trap of ‘race-to-the-bottom’ economics.”

Others on the panel included Vicki Shabo of the National Partnership for Women and Families; Ellen Bravo of Family Values @ Work Consortium; Judith Warner of the Center for American Progress; and Ivy Delgado, a bus driver from Connecticut. Read Jim Houser’s full statement

In Congress: CA and NJ Business Experience Cited in Support of State Leave Fund

On May 29, the National Work-Family Coalition hosted a Congressional briefing titled, “Paid Family and Medical Leave: Ensuring Economic Security for Workers, Employers and Communities.” The briefing focused on the need for a federally-supported state family leave fund that would help states defray computer system and other start-up costs of establishing a family leave insurance program. Ruth Milkman, Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center, highlighted the experiences of New Jersey and California, the two states that have implemented family leave insurance. She stressed that, in both states, the fears that businesses expressed prior to the passage of paid family leave were ultimately unfounded. Moreover, the vast majority of employers she surveyed in California reported that the state program had a positive or neutral effect on their operations.

Others on the panel included Wendy Chun-Hoon of the Family Values @ Work Consortium; Rhode Island State Senator Gayle Goldin (sponsor of the state’s Temporary Care Insurance bill); and Permelia Toney-Boss, a New Jersey worker who would benefit from paid leave legislation. Read Ruth Milkman's handout

Small Business Majority Releases Sick Days Implementation Publication

The Small Business Majority (SBM) has just released a new tool to help businesses implement sick days laws. Paid Sick Days and Your Small Business: Highlighting Cost Effective Management Strategies demonstrates how easily a small business can manage these new regulations, and then identifies resources available for administering PSD policies in a simple and cost-effective manner consistent with the law. According to SBM, the administrative time needed to track sick days is relatively modest, a point even opponents of paid sick days concede.

SBM notes, “A 2010 report published by the NFIB [National Federation of Independent Businesses] – traditionally an opponent of PSD policies – demonstrates the relative ease of administering a PSD program. NFIB puts the total cost associated with administering a PSD policy [at] $400 a year. Broken down further, NFIB members reported that on average, administering such a program takes them merely 10 hours a year, and costs about $40 per hour.” Read Paid Sick Days and Your Small Business: Highlighting Cost Effective Management Strategies

ASBC Co-sponsors Webinar on the Business Benefits of Good Workplaces

Businesses that create good workplaces for their employees are often rewarded with greater profits and a stronger company. The American Sustainable Business Association and several co-sponsoring organizations are hosting a webinar on Friday, June 7th at 2PM, featuring business leaders who will share best practices for ensuring that employees have access to benefits and opportunities for growth. The webinar will be archived on the ASBC website for those who can’t make it. Sign up for the webinar

RI Business Owner: Temporary Caregiver Insurance Makes Business Sense

“Enacting Temporary Caregiver Insurance is a rare win-win for business owners and employees. If TCI passes, however, the biggest winner would be the state economy,” writes Daniel Gold, a Rhode Island business owner. Gold wrote a compelling op-ed in the Providence Journal, explaining his support for the state’s Temporary Caregivers Insurance (TCI) bill. TCI would enable workers to receive employee-funded replacement income while caring for a seriously ill family member or new child. In the op-ed, Gold emphasizes that “having the most family-friendly work environment in new England” would help keep high quality workers and their families in Rhode Island, growing the economy. Read Gold's op-ed

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