A Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program in Georgia: What small businesses need to know

In Georgia, 1.2 million small businesses employ nearly half of the state’s workforce. Many of these small employers want to offer robust benefits like paid and family leave because it helps them compete with bigger businesses for talent. But this benefit carries a high cost that they simply can’t afford on their own while maintaining their bottom lines. This is why it’s important for Georgia legislators to consider passing a state-run paid family and medical leave program during the upcoming legislative session, as it can help them overcome workforce shortages, reduce turnover rates, and attract and retain a ready workforce.

What is a paid family and medical leave insurance program?

A paid family and medical leave program (PFML) in Georgia would allow small employers and their employees to contribute to an insurance pool via modest payroll deductions that would facilitate access to paid leave when employees need time to care for their families. A state-run program would help small businesses better compete with larger employers that can afford to offer paid family and medical leave on their own. 

What’s more, these programs find strong support among the small business community. Small Business Majority’s research found a majority of small business owners (73%) support key investments in paid family and medical leave, which will help them in retaining and supporting their workforce.

Who would benefit?

All employers and workers who contribute to the fund and experience a qualifying life event would be eligible to apply for leave compensation. This includes:

  • Part-time and seasonal workers.
  • Small business employees.
  • Self-employed and contracted employees who opt in to the program.

What are the benefits of implementing PFML in Georgia for small business owners?

According to the Georgia Coalition for Paid Leave, implementing a paid family and medical leave program offers many health and economic benefits to employees and employers alike. The benefits include:

  • Greater employee retention.
  • Increased labor force participation for women and family caregivers.
  • Better employee morale, economic security, and cost savings for employers in the long run. 

Are there other state-run PFML policies in the United States?

In the absence of a national paid family leave policy, 13 states and Washington, DC have created their own state-run programs to offer paid time off for small employers and their workers. 

Where can I learn more about this proposal or get involved?