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June 26, 2008

Business Council campaign blocks paid family leave mandate

ALBANY— Legislative proposals to impose a paid family leave mandate on businesses of all sizes were blocked as the legislature recessed thanks to a hard-fought campaign by The Business Council of New York State.

One proposal would have imposed 12 weeks of disability insurance benefits for family leave purposes on businesses of all sizes. Another would have provided 13 weeks leave and would have increased the maximum disability benefit from $170 per week to $550 per week by 2010 and would have permanently indexed the benefit to one half of the state's average weekly wage.

“These mandates would have made doing business in New York more expensive. They would have increased absenteeism and created workforce problems for all employers. It would create special burdens for small employers who are exempted from the federal Family Medical Leave Act,” said Tom Minnick, vice president of human resources of The Business Council.

“The Business Council mobilized with several of our members coming to Albany for legislative visits to explain the problems this mandate would cause. We worked closely with chambers around the state. The Council also took its message to the public and legislators through the media and in paid advertising,” added Minnick.

A web based e-advocacy campaign through The Business Council and Chamber of Commerce websites allowed nearly 1,400 people to voice their opposition to the mandate by sending almost 17,000 faxes to state legislators and the Governor.

“Stopping this mandate in this legislative session was a success. But, we will need to continue to fight it in the future as it remains a top priority for big labor,” concluded Minnick.

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