Paid Family Medical Leave

Very few workers have access to paid family and medical leave making it difficult to care for themselves and their families. Nationally, only 16 percent of workers have access to paid family and medical leave and Arizona lags other states.

That is why Opportunity Arizona supports SB1756 sponsored by Senator Martin Quezada, which would ensure Paid Family Medical Leave is available to hardworking Arizonans.

Paid leave helps keep families financially stable. Working families in the U.S. lose $20.6 billion in wages annually due to a lack of access to paid family and medical leave. Parents who took leave report lower levels of public assistance in the year following their child’s birth, when compared to those without paid leave. Paid leave also:

  • Contributes to positive infant and maternal outcomes. One-quarter of mothers in the United States return to work within less than 2 weeks of giving birth. It takes at least 6-8 weeks to recover from childbirth (more for complicated pregnancies/births) and 12 weeks for optimal breastfeeding and bonding.
  • Facilitates return to employment. Women, who are the primary or co-breadwinners for nearly 2/3 of the nation’s families, are more likely to return to employment and report increased wages if they take paid leave after a child’s birth.
  • Improves health outcomes and lower health care costs. When cared for by family members, patients in the hospital recover from illness and injury faster, leading to shorter hospital stays, improved health outcomes, and decreased health costs.
  • Improves worker retention, which saves employers money through reduced turnover costs. Replacing workers is expensive: Turnover costs are estimated to average one-fifth of an employee’s annual salary. And when workers don’t have access to paid leave, they are more likely to need to leave their jobs. Paid leave reduces these turnover costs and encourages valued workers to stay in the labor force and with the same employer.
  • Increases worker productivity. Employers know that providing supportive programs like paid leave promotes the retention and recruitment of employees and increases worker productivity. Nearly 90 percent of businesses surveyed about the effects of the California paid leave program said that the program had either a positive effect on productivity or no noticeable effect. These factors correlate with a better bottom line for companies.
  • Improves employee loyalty and morale. According to Harvard Business Review, a majority of the most successful companies report that exemplary benefit programs strengthen employee loyalty and morale. In California, virtually all employers (99 percent) reported that the state’s program had positive or neutral effects on employee morale. Likewise, several New Jersey employers noted that the state’s paid leave program helped reduce stress among employees and improve morale among employees who took leave and their co-workers.

Watch Tuft & Needle CEO Nick Arambula explain why paid leave is such an important part of their company philosophy:

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