Getting Down to Business: News on Employers and Paid Leave June 2014

June 06, 2014

Getting Down to Business: News on Employers and Paid Leave
June 2014
In this Issue

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS is CLASP's monthly update on the latest news about business and paid leave. If you have news you want to share with your colleagues around the country, let us know. And be sure to tell your area businesses 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. 

White House Regional Forums Showcase Forward Thinking Businesses

Later this month, the White House, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Center for American Progress (CAP), is convening a Summit on Working Families to address pressing issues for today’s workforce. Leading up to the summit, a number of regional forums have taken place across the country. They have showcased business owners whose practices support employees as they care for their families, as well as those who have taken a stance in favor of public policies. At the New York Regional Forum on Working Families, Tony Sandkamp, owner of Sandkamp Woodworks, said that earned sick days are a “win-win” for both workers and employers. He explained that earned sick days make good business sense because the cost of replacing and training new employees often exceeds the cost of providing that time off. In Chicago, Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique founder Teresa Ging also espoused the positive effects of better employment practices, saying: “I think that when you do invest in your employees you not only boost morale, but also retention.” See photos of the forums in San Francisco, New York ,and Chicago >>

Business Support for FAMILY Act Grows

The chorus of business voices who support the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act is growing louder. Last month, a number of new business leaders pledged support for the bill, which would create a national paid family and medical leave insurance program. The new supporters are highlighted on the Better Workplaces, Better Businesses website, which is sponsored by the American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance, and Social Venture Network. Jade Change Sheppard, founder of Gideon Contracting in Texas, explained, “As a business owner, I know that making sure workers have the time they need pays off in terms of more loyalty and productivity and enhances our bottom line in the long run. The FAMILY Act makes sense for my workers, my business, and the communities we work in, and having a national standard makes good sense for all of us.” Sara Sanderson, former owner of Wisconsin-based People’s Telephone Company, said, “I wholeheartedly support the FAMILY Act and believe that if businesses look at their bottom lines, the benefits will be clear.” See quotes from other business leaders >>

New York ASBC Members Launch Petition for NY Paid Leave Bill

New York-based members of the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) Action Fund are publicly supporting paid family leave. Members of the organization, which represents more than 26,000 New York businesses, recently launched a petition advocating for Paid Family Leave Insurance (PFLI) legislation in the state. The petition brings further momentum to the bill, which has already passed the Assembly and is gaining traction in the Senate. The business leaders argue that PFLI benefits business by reducing turnover, leveling the playing field for all employers, and minimizing the burden on employers of providing paid leave on their own. David Bolotsky, founder & CEO of UncommonGoods explains, “For us, the business case is clear: the better we treat our employees, the better employees we have, all leading to a stronger bottom line.” Read the press release >>

CA HR Professionals Announce Support for FAMILY Act

New allies are stepping up to voice their support for paid leave legislation. On May 27, an association of human resources professionals issued a statement advocating for the proposed Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act. California Human Resources Professionals for the FAMILY Act bases its position on its members’ many years of experience implementing California's Paid Family Leave (PFL) program. The group was mentioned at a recent regional forum in San Francisco (a part of the lead up to the White House Summit on Working Families this month), which featured Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Senate Leader Nancy Pelosi. In its statement, the group of HR experts argues that a national paid family and medical leave program would benefit employee morale, productivity, and health. The experts also note that implementation of California’s PFL program has not been burdensome for employers. Read the press release >>

Small Business Majority Releases Paid Leave Guides

In celebration of National Small Business Week, Small Business Majority has released a series of guides to help small business owners understand enacted and proposed paid leave legislation in Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, and Colorado. The guides also showcase the ways family and medical leave insurance programs benefit and strengthen businesses. In fact, a recent poll conducted by the group shows that a plurality of small business owners support creating publicly administered family and medical leave insurance pools funded by small contributions from employers and employees.

Small Business Owner Stands with Sen. Gillibrand in Support of FAMILY Act

At a recent event, Christopher Kelley, co-founder and president of Convene, stood with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as she called on Congress to pass the FAMILY Act. Kelley said, “It is regrettable that the birth of a child, which should mark a high point in one's life, is often overshadowed by employment security.” He added, “We believe that a more holistic, family-oriented benefits program is not only the right thing to do but is also good business. Senator Gillibrand's legislation is the right thing to do.” Read the press release >>

Coming Up: Demos Panel on Paid Leave

On June 24, Demos will host a panel discussion, titled “More Good News on Paid Family Leave,” in New York. The panel, moderated by Demos Senior Fellow Sharon Lerner, will feature Eileen Appelbaum, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research; Sherry Leiwant, co-president and co-founder of A Better Balance; and Donna Dolan, executive director of the New York State Paid Leave Coalition. Panelists will discuss lessons learned from California's and New Jersey's paid family leave programs, and the event will mark the publication of "Business as Usual: New Jersey Employers' Experiences with Family Leave Insurance," a paper by Lerner and Appelbaum. Watch for more details on the Demos website. A video will be posted after the event. Visit Demos>>

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