The results of a three-year study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research indicated that paid family leave policies do not have a negative effect for employers. Spanning 2016 to 2019, the study focused on what effects NYS’s paid family leave law, which came into force in 2018, might have on employers dealing with workers who take leave.
The researchers surveyed more than 4,500 firms employing between 10 and 99 employees in New York and neighboring Pennsylvania, which does not have paid-family leave policies currently. They found that employers did not experience dips in worker productivity, or difficulties with less tangible aspects, such as employee cooperation and teamwork.
This study also showed evidence that paid family leave enjoyed wide popularity and that employers were not adversely affected in financial terms. Oddly, despite its success, support for paid family leave declined slightly, something the researchers could not explain.
Of course, the pandemic has changed much of the employment landscape, nationally, and paid family leave remains available to less than a quarter of US workers. This has had a significant impact on people’s ability to manage health concerns and work.
There remains no federal paid leave law on the books, leaving many workers stranded between work and home obligations or relying on the good grace of private employers to institute leave policies.