Lalor: Family Leave Bill Doesn’t Stand Up to Scrutiny

Statement on Assembly Family and Medical Leave Bill (A.3870) from Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill)

“While this legislation sounds good on the surface, it does not stand up to scrutiny. Currently federal law requires that employers with 50 or more employees give unpaid family and medical leave. This bill will add a new payroll tax paid by employers and employees to provide employees with up to $633 per week for 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave each year.”

“This bill has no small business exception. Under this bill, Walmart is treated the same as a mom and pop business with a handful of employees. There is no requirement of proof that the person receiving the benefit is actually the primary caregiver to the person they claim they are on leave to care for. For this and other reasons the program is ripe for fraud. If you look at cities that currently offer paid family medical leave, a huge percentage of city employees use one of their medical leave days, for example, on the day after the Super Bowl.”

“This bill represents another disincentive to start or expand a business in New York. It will undoubtedly lead to employers leaving the state and discouraging employers from relocating here and encourage them to create jobs in another state or overseas. As with the minimum wage increase, low-skilled and entry-level workers will be hurt by this. As the cost of an employee increases due to this legislation, employers are not going to take a chance on a low-skilled or entry level worker. Employers will hold out for higher skilled, more experienced workers.”

“Taxes will go up because state and local government employers as well as school districts will have to bear the cost of this, which is to say the taxpayers will have to pay, yet again. Healthcare costs, childcare costs and the cost of living generally will go up because the cost of doing business in all sectors will go up.”

“The bill punishes employers who have voluntarily provided paid family and medical leave. An employer currently providing 12 weeks of paid leave will now have to pay for 24 weeks of paid leave. It is a classic case of no good deed goes unpunished.”

“As an alternative to placing yet another major unfunded mandate on already beleaguered New York businesses and local governments, we should incentivize savings through the tax code to make it easier and more beneficial for New Yorkers to save for times when they are sick or have to provide medical care to family members, similar to the way the 401k retirement plan or the 527 education plan do.

Also, because a rising tide lifts all boats, the state should focus on expanding opportunities and increasing real wages by reducing government spending so we can ease the tax burden on New Yorkers and New York’s businesses can keep more of their own money. We should also eliminate unnecessary regulations to attract new employers and to help existing businesses expand which would further invigorate the economy and boost wages. Elimination or significant reduction of corporate welfare would provide billions per year in tax relief.”

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