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For Release — May 27, 2008

Business Council warns Paid Family Leave mandate an obstacle to job growth

ALBANY— A legislative proposal to expand the state's temporary disability insurance (TDI) program to pay for family leave will do further damage to a state economy that is already losing jobs warned The Business Council of New York State.

“While this bill is well-meaning, it is absolutely the wrong message to send to businesses that are already overtaxed and overregulated in this state,” said Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of The Business Council.

The bill (S.5821/A.9245) goes much further than the federal family leave law by extending its reach to small businesses and greatly expanding the circumstances under which one could receive the benefit.

“Businesses compete for talented workers and have a variety of leave programs to help them deal with work-family issues,” added Adams. “This is the heavy hand of government trying to mandate a one-size fits program that will be expensive and disruptive.”

Only one state, California, has a similar law in effect. Washington and New Jersey have passed similar laws but they are not yet operating.

“It is ironic that New York would seek to follow California since in a recent survey of 605 CEOs by Chief Executive Magazine that was the only state viewed as more hostile to business than New York,” said Adams. “Placing a mandate like this which is so out of the mainstream from other states will make it much harder to keep and grow jobs in the New York.”

The real expense of this mandate will be the cost of replacement workers. Employers will be forced to use mandatory overtime, which is not only expensive but damages morale, or go out and find and train temporary replacements. In some business sectors, such as tourism, it may be impossible to find replacements when needed.

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