Supporters of the Family and Medical Leave Act are gearing up for another campaign in New Mexico, aiming to introduce legislation that would mandate paid family leave for workers in the state. While proponents, led by state Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos), claim such a policy is essential for the well-being of employees, it’s a killer for small businesses that hire these employees.
A previous version of this bill died early this year during the 2023 Legislative Session, with Democrats and Republicans voting to kill the extreme legislation that would cripple small businesses.
The proposed legislation seeks to guarantee employees paid time off to address personal or family health issues, provide care for a newborn, or handle other family-related matters. Advocates claim that this initiative promotes work-life balance and supports families during critical times. However, critics argue that the policy, if implemented, could impose a significant burden on small businesses already grappling with economic challenges. Troubles for small businesses have only been exacerbated by increased inflation.
According to a report from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), such mandates can strain small businesses, particularly those with limited resources. The NFIB contends that the financial burden of paid family leave may lead to increased operational costs, potentially forcing some small businesses to scale back operations or even close their doors.
In addition to concerns over financial implications, opponents argue that mandated paid family leave may disrupt business operations, especially for smaller companies with fewer employees. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, emphasizes that compliance with family leave mandates can be challenging for businesses with limited staffing, potentially resulting in decreased productivity and competitiveness.
While supporters emphasize the societal benefits of paid family leave, critics underscore the importance of considering the very real negative repercussions for small businesses.