Paid Family Leave Proposal Lingers

Date: May 30, 2017

If the paid family leave bills in the Massachusetts House and Senate are approved and signed into law, businesses could be paying partial wages to employees who are not working for up to half a year.

Under H.2172 and S.1048, employers would be required to provide job-protected paid leave to employees who are off work to recover from their own illness or injury, to care for an ill or injured family member, or to care for a new child. Employee pay during this leave would be a percentage of their average weekly wages, amounting to a maximum weekly benefit of $650 or $1,000. The duration would be up to 12 or 16 weeks to care for a new child or ill or injured family member or up to a whopping 26 weeks for recovery for the employee’s own illness or injury. To pay for this benefit, employers would pay premium contributions to the Family and Employment Security Trust Fund or to private insurance plans, but would be able to require that employees contribute up to 50 percent of the cost of premiums.

In 2016, the Massachusetts Senate approved a paid family and medical leave bill, and this year, Raise Up Massachusetts, the coalition behind this and other labor bills, is pushing for passage from the full Legislature.

Meanwhile, small businesses are already struggling to keep up with a myriad of leave laws on the books—not to mention all the other tax and regulatory ideas swirling around the Statehouse. In November 2014, voters adopted a paid sick leave at the polls that required workers to be allowed to earn one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. Additionally, there are other state laws requiring ‘small necessities’ leave, domestic violence leave, and parental leave, plus the federal family and medical leave law.

NFIB/MA will continue to fight against this proposal, which could be devastating to small businesses.


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