Not according to a new and detailed report from the wonks at the Center for Economic and Policy Research that examined the New Jersey Family Leave Insurance (or FLI) program. The program allows workers to take up to six weeks of paid leave (capped at $595 a week in 2014) to care for new babies, seriously ill relatives, or themselves. It is paid for by a small tax (up to 60 cents a week) on employees.
Among the major findings:
- None of the participating employers reported that the Family Leave Insurance program affected their productivity or turnover.
- Only two of 18 employers felt the program negatively affected their profitability.
- Some participants found that the program improved employees’ morale.
- Several employers reported that the length of time employees were home to care for a new baby was longer than before the Family Leave Insurance program was in place.
- A majority of employers experienced no increase in paperwork due to administration of the program; some employers, however, reported a small to moderate increase.
- Despite fears that the program would be abused, no employers were aware of any instances of abuse.
- Men at the workplaces studied took fewer family and medical leaves than women and the leaves they did take tended to be shorter.
- Some business owners and human resources (HR) managers reported a lack of awareness of FLI among their employees.
- More than four years after the program went into effect, even some human resources professionals were confused about or unaware of the provisions of the FLI program.
The researchers also concluded that:
“The New Jersey experience was not dissimilar from the experiences in California and Rhode Island, the only other states in the nation that offer paid leave programs. Just as in New Jersey, employers in California and Rhode Island did not feel these programs imposed heavy burdens upon them or were an impediment to business.”