This bill would provide up to 12 weeks of benefit payments to employees through the state=s disability insurance system for the purposes of child bonding and caring for an ill family member.
The Business Council opposes enactment of this legislation:
Alignment with federal Family Medical Leave
Our comments early on were aimed at aligning any state requirement to the federal family medical leave act so New York State employers of 50 or more employees would not have multiple tiers of rules, requirements, eligible persons etc. to wade through and deal with. Unfortunately, this bill moves away from this suggestion in areas such as definition of family and the relationship between this type of family care and an employee=s own disability. Since this is part of the state TDI program, there is also no exclusion for small businesses of less than 50 employees.
A major objection to paid family care legislation is that it encourages absence
This is not a role that government should play. The cost of filling in for those missing would be at overtime rates, borne by business and more than likely as mandatory overtime for other employees, borne by those other employees who are called in to fill the vacant positions. This would affect the businesses ability to meet its customers' needs and therefore affect their ability to operate efficiently. Either way, personnel costs are up through overtime and morale is affected for those who pick up the slack resulting from these additional absences.
Greater use brings higher costs
Providing for broader use of disability benefits beyond their original intention will increase actual use of the benefit and, as a simple economic issue, increase costs for everyone=s disability insurance. Coupling this to other proposed legislation, which would more than double the maximum disability benefit from the current $170 per week, is a recipe for significant increases in the cost of creating and retaining (and losing) jobs in New York State. Even with employee contributions, paid family leave legislative mandates would be another state government policy barrier contributing to our state's uncompetitive business position. We were encouraged with prior cost pass‑ through language. In this bill, the pass-through will be capped at 115% of the state insurance fund's annual cost. Many businesses use carriers other than the NYSIF and may incur higher increases which they will not be able to pass through.
Provisions for unions and collective bargaining agreements
We do not understand why these family care benefits must be in addition to any terms of a collective bargaining agreement. If this program is imposed on private employers, they should not be barred from renegotiating the terms of any similar negotiated programs. Also, public employee unions may choose to opt in. No such choice to opt in is available to the private employer or the private sector employee's collective bargaining agent.
Another posting requirement
Currently, employers are required to post a notice containing information about the disability insurance company, policy number and dates of coverage. Now, new language would require employers to also do another communication to employees stating that they have paid for their disability insurance coverage, plus repeat the communication to all new employees within 30 days of their start date!
For these reasons, The Business Council opposes this legislation and respectfully urges that it not be enacted.