In 2015 MAC provided research to assist Senator Karen Carter Peterson (LA) in introducing legislation to mandate paid family and medical leave for employees across the state. Due in part to this effort and a staggering evidence-base in favor of paid leave laws, this year MAC developed and released two leave policy briefs to over 400 businesses throughout Louisiana. The briefs aimed to inform business owners about why creating paid leave laws in Louisiana not only benefit employees but will also positively impact the public health of communities and productivity of businesses.
Research shows the US is 1 of only 3 countries in the world without national paid maternity leave laws and 2 out of 3 Louisiana working women do not have paid leave when they have a baby. Often, this means returning to work too soon, cutting valuable breastfeeding and bonding time, and risking the health of mom and baby. In addition, due to the lack of paid leaves, new dads are not as engaged in baby’s initial development, which is a crucial time. Moreover, 45% of private industry workers in Louisiana do not have paid sick days causing many to attend work sick, risking co-workers’ health and increasing absenteeism which hurts employers’ overall productivity. Ailing elderly parents or a sick spouse and children suffer when workers are not allowed to take paid time off to attend to their medical needs. This can affect workers’ morale and the immense stress it can produce attributes to overall turnover for employers. MAC’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Policy Brief summarizes how businesses that support this leave can save money and benefit children, families, and communities. The second brief, Paid Sick Days Policy Brief explains how a sick leave law could bolster the local economy through continued use of products and services, reduce healthcare costs by decreasing workplace disease contagion, decrease emergency room visits and impact the companies’ overall bottom line.