200 business professors support paid family leave and have petitioned Congress. Here’s why.
Business school professors are situated at a very interesting crossroads.
On one hand, we are very well connected to the business community. Most of us interact with executives and managers on an ongoing basis. We keep up with industry best practices. Many consult with leading firms. We write for practitioner outlets and trade magazines. We provide executive training and education to those near the top of organizational charts, as well as MBA classes to those on the first few rungs of the ladder. In many ways, and through many means, we are very plugged into the concerns of the business community.
We are also part of the academy. We look beyond short-term business imperatives and take a broad view, incorporating social-science research and evidence. We study widely and debate ideas. We look to multiple sources and disciplines to inform our thinking, scholarship and teaching. We look for connections that may be outside the view of those looking just for immediate results.
These dual roles give business academics unique perspective- one that understands business necessity but can see a bit over the horizon as well.
Here are just a few reasons why:
- A national paid family and medical leave standard such as the Family And Medical Insurance Leave Act—the FAMILY Act—would help both businesses and families thrive. This legislation would allow men and women to receive a portion of their pay when they take time away from their jobs to recover from a serious illness or care for a sick loved one or a new child, by creating a national paid family and medical leave fund.
- Right now, millions of workers are forced to choose between job and family when they need family or medical leave. Evidence shows that isn’t good for families or for our economy.
- Today, just 13 percent of workers have access to paid family leave through their
employers, and fewer than four in 10 have access to employer-provided personal medical leave. Data within and across firms, and recent announcements from companies like Netflix and Virgin, remind us that employees’ access to leave varies widely by industry, by job and by wage and skill level.
- As a result, tens of millions of employees forfeit pay or lose their jobs after the birth or adoption of a child or when they or their loved ones get sick—the very times when expenses rise.
- At the higher end of the wage and skill spectrum, business and national culture don’t yet encourage employees to take the time they need to care for themselves or their loved ones—and women, men and children pay a grievous price.
- Firms suffer when their workforce has low morale and reduced productivity—when new moms or dads would prefer to be at home caring for their babies or when a personal or family illness impacts performance.
- Paid leave contributes to reduced turnover and higher employee engagement and loyalty, which helps businesses save direct and indirect costs. When workers are able to devote more time and attention to their home lives, they experience a stronger sense of control, less stress, and are more efficient, engaged and productive at work.
- The FAMILY Act would help change our norms and our culture by creating a national floor. It would help workers make ends meet during those challenging times, and it would benefit businesses as well.
- The FAMILY Act employs a familiar, tested insurance pool framework (currently in use in California, New Jersey and Rhode Island) and spreads the cost of leave between employers and employees in a way that is affordable and responsible. The experiences of numerous other countries, the states that have adopted paid family and medical leave programs, and businesses that have paid leave policies in place proves the benefits of paid leave.
- A national paid family and medical leave standard is long overdue. In our letter, my business faculty colleagues and I make the case that the nation’s workers, and the companies they work for, need paid leave now and that the FAMILY Act provides a smart way to provide it. I hope this effort adds to the tremendous momentum in support of paid leave and the efforts of advocacy groups such as the National Partnership for Women & Families to help make our nation more family-friendly.
- The country will be better off when Congress passes the FAMILY Act.
Expanded paid parental and medical leave has caught on in many cities and states, but federal progress on this issue would help millions of families. Please contact your representatives in support of paid family leave.