Paid Family Leave Benefit Extension (A.1834)

Date: 2017

A.1834 Harris 

MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION

Unshackle Upstate, a non-partisan, pro-taxpayer, pro-economic growth, education and advocacy coalition made up of business and trade organizations from all parts of Upstate New York, opposes this legislation.

This proposal would expand the application of New York State’s paid family leave law to cover certain persons in the construction industry, a law that was only enacted in the state’s 2016-17 budget, and which has not yet gone into effect.

During the debate over the Paid Family Leave Act, the employer community expressed concerns that enacting the nation’s most generous and least business-friendly paid family leave program would ultimately cost more than the proposal’s supporters were projecting, and that these costs would be borne by either employers or taxpayers.  However, the Governor and legislative leaders promised that all of the costs of this new program would be covered by an employee payroll deduction. 

We then learned that is not entirely accurate.  Employers have borne some of the costs of the program already, as the 2016-17 enacted state budget transferred $10 million from the state Workers' Compensation fund to implement the Paid Family Leave Act.  So even as this program was touted as being completely self-funded, the state immediately used funds that could have been used to provide relief for the state’s high Workers’ Compensation are instead being used to pay for the administrative costs of the Paid Family Leave program.

This legislation would expand the Paid Family Leave program to cover additional workers.  But the sponsor does not even attempt to estimate the cost of such a program expansion, calling it “unknown” in her sponsor’s memorandum.  

We are concerned that every expansion of the state’s Paid Family Leave program will make the program more expensive, and that these excess costs will ultimately be borne by the state’s employers.

For these reasons, Unshackle Upstate opposes the enactment of this legislation.