Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of the CEO members of Business Roundtable, who lead companies with more than 15 million employees, I write to urge Congress to enact federal legislation to make available paid family and medical leave benefits to as many working Americans as possible. While most Business Roundtable companies provide very generous paid leave, there is a need for economy-wide action; fewer than 17 percent of workers have access to paid family leave through their employers, and fewer than 41 percent of private sector workers have medical or short-term disability leave.
Business Roundtable CEOs take seriously the responsibility of helping our millions of employees in every state address the demands of parenting, family or personal illness, care giving, and other exigencies that are part of daily life outside of work. Providing these benefits is an important part of serving the needs of our employees and their families. Congress should act promptly to address these serious needs of workers and ensure benefits of this kind are available for more Americans.
Legislation should provide uniform standards that apply to all covered employees and that adhere to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act requirements. Doing so would benefit employees needing coverage as well as help businesses challenged by the growing patchwork of competing and inconsistent state plans. Notably, eight states and the District of Columbia already have statewide requirements, and more than 35 states proposed legislation in 2019 to address the issue.
Legislation should give employers flexibility in managing paid family and medical leave benefits, including by allowing employers to maintain their own plans if they self-finance and administer benefits differently to different types of employees, provided all minimum requirements are met.
Legislation should also allow employers to pay any required fees on behalf of employees and to minimize administrative burdens. We are ready to work with Congress and the Administration to make this happen and help American workers better deal with important personal events.
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, IBM Corporation
Chair, Education and Workforce Committee, Business Roundtable
C: Ivanka Trump