By Bill Mahoney
ALBANY -- The state's new paid family leave system will not negatively impact the job climate in New York, two state agencies argued in draft regulations released Wednesday.
Last year's budget implemented an employee-funded paid family leave policy that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has described as the county's most comprehensive. It is set to begin next January, and by the time it is fully phased-in in 2021, workers will be allowed to earn 67 percent of their weekly wages for 12 weeks.
In this week's edition of the state register, the Department of Financial Services and Workers' Compensation Board each released summaries of rules proposals designed to implement this system.
The program "is not expected to have a negative impact on jobs in New York State," the Workers' Compensation Board wrote in a job impact statement released with its draft regulation. "It is expected that job satisfaction will increase and employers will reap the benefits of that increase."
"One possible adverse impact is that the employee taking leave will be absent from their job for a period of time," the statement says. "However, the benefit of being able to take paid family leave to care for family members, and the security of being able to return to work after leave, is expected to offset this impact and lead to greater job satisfaction and thus increased employee retention."
The Business Council of New York State has previously been critical of claims that paid family leave will not result in new costs for employers.
"Despite promises that there would be no cost to employers, the budget allowed for the transfer of $10 million from money already paid by employers - specifically assessed for running the Workers Compensation Board - to administer the paid family leave program," it noted in a summary of last year's budget.
"We're still going through these regulations," said the Business Council's Zack Hutchins. "We continue to have concerns with the cost estimates for the program, and we just don't believe those are accurate."
The regulatory proposals detail a number of specifics for implementing the program, such as the type of evidence an employee will need to present before taking leave and the arbitration process for individuals denied it.
View the Workers' Compensation Board's proposed regulation here.
Summaries for the proposals from the Board and DFS can be found here.