California HR Experts’ Group Announces Support for FAMILY Act
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, May 27, 2014
Contact: Liz Ben-Ishai
A group of California-based human resources (HR) experts issued a statement today in support of the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, legislation recently introduced in Congress that would create a national paid family and medical leave insurance program. Drawing on their decade-long experience implementing California’s state-level paid family leave (PFL) program, members of “California Human Resources Professionals for the FAMILY Act,” say they expect the FAMILY Act to boost employee morale, productivity, and health.
The FAMILY Act would enable workers to take up to 12 weeks to recover from serious illness, care for a sick family member, or bond with a new child. The program, which would be funded entirely by small contributions from employers and employees and administered by the federal government, is modeled in part of California’s PFL program. Annette Bonilla, Vice President and Director of Human Resources at Environmental Science Associates (ESA), which has offices in four states including California, explained, “At ESA, implementing PFL has been straightforward, and the benefits have been clear. After California established the law, we began to notice that our employees who took time off when a new baby arrived or when a serious illness struck were less stressed than those in similar circumstances working in our other states. Less stressed workers mean more productive workers.” Bonilla added, “That’s why we support the FAMILY Act – a federal law would help employees at all of our locations.”
Like ESA, the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) has offices in four places around the U.S. and would welcome federal legislation. Donald P. Lofe Jr., Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer of LIIF, said, “A federal law that would standardize treatment for all employees would significantly benefit our organization. And given our smooth experience implementing PFL in California, we have every reason to believe the FAMILY Act would also be straightforward.” As a result of the law in California, Lofe added, “Our employees are more satisfied in their jobs when they have economic security, and that makes them more effective. We want the same for employees in other states.”
Jennifer Benz, CEO and Founder of Benz Communications, not only administers PFL for her own company, but also works with many other employers and HR professionals. She said, “HR professionals are a credible source of support for a bill like this – we are the ones who really know what it’s like to implement workplace laws.” Benz acknowledged that small employers may face challenges as when they first encounter new legislation, but she said her experience with California’s program shows that “the benefits far outweigh the challenges.”
Echoing other members of California Human Resources Professionals for the FAMILY Act, Katie Booser, Vice President of People Operations at Blue Bottle Coffee, said, “Blue Bottle has learned that what’s good for our employees is good for our business. PFL in California in not only a boon to employers and employees, it’s a relief to HR professionals who find it relatively simple to administer.” Blue Bottle has operations in New York State, in addition to California. Booser said the company was eager to see their NY-based employees enjoying paid leave. “Just as California’s PFL law has been nothing but positive for us, the FAMILY Act simply makes sense – for everyone involved. That’s why HR professionals can endorse it with confidence. We hope Congress will pass this bill quickly.”