The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Bob Keener, 617-610-6766,

Businesses Criticize Sen Rubio Paid Leave Bill as Too Limited and Not Funded Responsibly


Today, the leading policy advocacy group for responsible businesses released a statement criticizing the Economic Security for Parents Act that will be introduced by Senator Marco Rubio, saying that it would provide limited benefits and reduce Social Security for participants. The following statement may be attributed to Christine Blackburn, Policy Director of the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC):

"This bill is a long way away from what American employees need and what most businesses want to provide. The benefits are extremely limited, but that's not the worst of it. Reducing Social Security benefits to pay for limited paid leave makes no sense. We support the FAMILY Act, which would provide the comprehensive benefits American employees and businesses need, and it is funded with small contributions by both employees and employers."

In addition to its responsible funding, the FAMILY Act's broader benefits would cover critical family and medical issues that Senator Rubio's bill doesn't. By focusing only on a very narrow part of the working population that needs paid leave, Rubio's bill ignores the vast majority of employees who use paid leave to take care of other family members and deal with serious illnesses. Nearly 75% of employees currently with access to leave, either under law or through their employer, use their leave for instances other than the birth or adoption of a new child. Under the FAMILY Act, all employees could use their benefits to take care of other family members or deal with their own serious illnesses.

Companies in states that already have paid leave policies in place have seen increased worker satisfaction and increasingly productive workplaces. This, in turn, reduces business costs associated with employee turnover and training, which can cost thousands of dollars per worker.

"Senator Rubio's bill presents a cruel choice to American employees," said Blackburn. "They should not be forced to choose between taking leave they need now or full retirement benefits. It is bad public policy to implement a government-mandated policy that drains the Social Security program during a time when many workers are already struggling to put aside enough for retirement."

ASBC submitted testimony to a Senate subcommittee hearing on paid leave held on July 11. It said in part, "The right program will allow employees to meet the needs of a new family or take proper care of a seriously ill loved one (or themselves) without financial penalty. Because these are inherently stressful life situations, practical support, such as paid leave, makes a profound and lasting difference to employees and their loved ones." The full testimony may be found here:

Paid leave is a key component of what ASBC calls the high-road workplace. Companies that follow the high road, value their employees, the communities in which they operate, and the products and services they provide as equally important to their financial success. High-road companies that implement paid leave programs understand that workers' personal lives can impact their work lives. By taking the needs of their workers into consideration, high road companies reap the benefit of happy, productive employees and lower hiring and training costs.

ASBC published a report, "The High Road Workplace: Route to a Sustainable Economy," that describes high-road practices and principles. It may be found here:

The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) advocates for policy change and informs business owners, policymakers and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, broadly prosperous, sustainable economy. Founded in 2009, its membership represents over 250,000 businesses in a wide range of industries.

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