Will Legislature Enact Paid Leave in 2017?

Date: February 15, 2017

The push for paid leave is back again.

In 2016, the measure advanced from the Senate, but failed to pass the House, which was a relief for small business owners. Under the proposal, employers would have been required to provide employees 26 weeks of paid leave for their own illness and up to 16 weeks of paid family leave for the birth/adoption of a child or to care for a relative, including spouse, parent, grandparent, in-law, child, or grandchild. Employers would have been forced to pay workers a percentage of their salary during this leave, up to $1,000 per week.

However, WWLP reported that lawmakers are working toward reintroducing the proposal from last year as part of a collection of anti-poverty bills. Also included would be eliminating some debt-collection strategies, increasing the Massachusetts earned income tax credit, reimbursing students who paid tuition to for-profit schools that closed suddenly, and allowing additional child support collections from the parent without custody when the parent with custody receives public assistance.

While well-intentioned, workplace mandates like paid leave only end up causing more harm. Businesses that can afford to offer this benefit already do, and those that can’t are forced to make tough choices, like laying off workers, cutting other benefits, or nixing hiring and expansion plans.

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