The New Jersey Business & Industry Association opposes A-2947, the bill that would increase the state’s current paid family leave benefit.
The bill would double paid family leave from six to 12 weeks, the weekly benefit cap would rise from $633 to $932, and more people would be eligible for the benefit for a much longer list of reasons. If it becomes law, the legislation would substantially increase costs, especially to small business.
The bill also makes no adjustment to the amount put into the fund that pays these benefits. NJBIA is concerned that increasing these benefits could deplete the fund from which these benefits are paid. This in turn will force the Legislature to increase taxes to cover the increased benefits and businesses will be forced to cover those increased costs.
“This bill would be extremely disruptive to our members,” said Michele Siekerka, President and CEO of NJBIA.
“Not only would the bill increase business costs resulting in a hit to the bottom line but doubling the amount of leave and making more people eligible would require businesses to cover gaps in the workforce for a much longer period. It could also leave our members short staffed at important times.”
New Jersey is one of only three states that now have a paid family leave benefit. The others are Rhode Island and California, in addition to the District of Columbia. In addition, New Jersey is one of only six states that even have temporary disability.
“This is only one of three bills scheduled for a committee vote today that would increase costs for business and make New Jersey less competitive and affordable,” said Siekerka. “There likely will be many more.
“When considering these policy proposals going forward it is important that the Legislature not consider them in a vacuum as single independent bills, but rather as they are considered the Legislature must assess their cumulative impact.
“As things stand now, we are not competitive with our neighboring state of Pennsylvania, our No. 1 outmigration state, which does not offer paid family leave at all. Substantially increasing our paid family leave benefit will make us even less competitive as our small businesses continue to struggle with high taxes and a lack of affordability.”
To read NJBIA Director Mike Wallace’s testimony on the legislation before the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Reform and Federal Relations Committee, click here.