Submitted by Caroline C. Blaker, the principal and founder of Aquarian Web Studio, LLC
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As a business owner, I understand the importance of making smart investments that will benefit both my employees and my businesses. That’s why I firmly believe that opposing Senate Bill 11, the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, is not only detrimental to our workforce, but also harmful to the overall health of our business community and our local economies.
One of the biggest reasons why opposing paid family and medical leave is hurtful for businesses is because it leads to increased employee turnover. A situation that any business owner will agree creates a real cost comes in the form of lost productivity, depleted team morale from the additional workload and the loss of a colleague, damaged brand, and all of it leading to possibly even more turnover.
When employees don’t have access to paid leave, they are forced to choose between their job and the well-being of their family. This can lead to long-term health problems for both parents and children, as well as decreased productivity and higher healthcare costs. For business owners, this represents costs and disruption to our operations.
Opposing paid family and medical leave also hurts our ability to attract and retain our best workers. Offering paid leave is becoming an increasingly important factor for job seekers, especially in this tight labor market. Businesses that don’t offer paid leave risk losing out on top talent to their competitors.
Additionally, opposing paid family and medical leave harms our reputation and relationship with the community. As business owners, we understand the importance of having a positive reputation and the support of our community. Businesses that don’t offer paid leave risk being seen as uncaring and out of touch with the needs of their employees and the community.
Moreover, opposing paid family and medical leave also hurts our economy. Paid leave helps to promote gender equity in the workplace, by making it easier for women to take time off to care for children and family members, without fear of discrimination or career interruptions. By promoting gender equity, we are promoting a more diverse and inclusive workforce and economy.
It’s also worth noting that this year’s proposed Paid Family and Medical Leave Act would be implemented through a shared-cost model, where employees will pay 0.5% of wages, and employers with more than five employees will pay 0.4% of wages. Those with fewer than five employees will be exempted. This means that businesses will not be burdened with extra cost by implementing this policy.
I understand the importance of balancing the needs of our employees with the needs of our businesses. That’s why I firmly believe that opposing paid family and medical leave is not only detrimental to our workforce, but also harmful to the overall health of our business community and local economy. It’s time for our Legislators to make paid family and medical leave a reality for all, so that our employees can take care of their loved ones without sacrificing their livelihood and so our business can have a happy, healthy, and productive workforce.
Caroline C. Blaker is the Principal & Founder of Aquarian Web Studio in Albuquerque, NM.