New Mexico small businesses support state-run paid family & medical leave program
Small business owners know it makes good business sense to care for their employees as this is crucial to hiring and retaining a skilled workforce. However, many small employers struggle to provide benefits like paid family and medical leave, putting them at a disadvantage when competing for talent with large corporations that can afford to offer robust benefits on their own. As state policymakers consider a number of proposals for the 2024 legislative session, a new opinion poll reveals that small businesses support a state-administered paid family and medical leave insurance program in New Mexico.
The scientific opinion poll, conducted for Small Business Majority by Chesapeake Beach Consulting, found New Mexico small businesses overwhelmingly support (85%) the creation of a state-run paid family and medical leave insurance program. The proposed insurance program would pay their employees a portion of their wages for up to 12 weeks if the employee has a serious illness, needs to care for a seriously ill family member, needs bereavement time for the death of a child or needs to care for a new baby.
Additionally, the survey found two-thirds of New Mexico small businesses support paid family and medical leave because they believe it is the right thing to do, not just as an employer but as someone who cares about the people who work for them. Eight in 10 (80%) offer some form of parental leave to their employees, the majority of whom offer full or partial pay. A state-run paid family and medical leave program would close the gap for small businesses that are unable to offer paid leave or can only offer partial pay to their employees while on leave.
It is also important to note that small businesses support several components that may be included in the legislative proposal. There is especially strong support (91%) for a requirement that the employee provide proof of the need for leave and for a requirement that an employee pays into the fund for at least 6 of the 12 prior months before they are eligible to take leave (89%).
As state policymakers determine their legislative priorities for 2024, it’s important for them to understand that small businesses strongly support this proposal and believe it would provide a number of bottom-line benefits to New Mexico’s small business community.
- The vast majority of small employers support the creation of a state-administered paid family and medical leave insurance program in New Mexico: 85% say they support the creation of a program that would pay their employees a portion of their wages for up to 12 weeks if the employee has a serious illness, needs to care for a seriously ill family member, needs bereavement time for the death of a child or needs to care for a new baby.
- Many small businesses in New Mexico offer some form of parental and/or family leave: Eight in 10 small businesses offer some form of parental leave, with 21% offering maternal leave, 8% offering paternal leave and half offering both to their employees. In addition, more than half (52%) have a formal or consistent policy to provide either paid or unpaid family leave, while 38% offer family leave to some employees on a case-per-case basis. A majority of those offering some form of parental leave or family leave policy offer full or partial pay.
- Small business owners believe a state-administered paid family and medical leave program would allow them to compete with larger companies: 61% strongly agree a program would better level the playing field with the larger companies that can afford to offer these programs voluntarily and pay for extended leave out-of-pocket. Just 11% strongly disagree with this sentiment.
- Small business owners believe benefits are crucial to recruiting and retaining their workforce: 55% strongly agree that job-seekers are increasingly interested in applying to jobs that provide family-friendly benefits and are evaluating employers based on the benefits they offer. Six in 10 say that because paid family and medical leave insurance programs bring certain workers back into the job market, their business would benefit from that additional workforce.