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Prenatal Paid Leave in N.Y., a Shift in Job Openings, and Visa Looks to Fewer Credit Cards



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[Gene Marks, host]

Hey everybody, it's Gene Marks and welcome to this week's episode of the Paychex THRIVE Week in Review podcast. This is where we take a few items out of the news and talk a little bit about them because they impact both you and my small business. So, let's get right to the news and let's talk about some of these things, shall we?


First has to be time off for pregnant women. This is a report in Paid leave for prenatal care is poised to become a national women's health initiative. That's because New York state has become the first state to mediate a standalone entitlement to paid prenatal fetal care. So, this is paid time off for your workers that need to go and get prenatal care, during their pregnancy.


New York's governor signed the law, recently this past week. It will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2025, and it is requiring employers in the state of New York to provide up to 20 hours of paid leave within a 52-week period for prenatal care.


Now, there's other paid leave laws around the country. You know, President Biden recently signed a bill to enable or to tell employers to provide accommodations for their pregnant workers. There is paid, as you know, family, you know, paid leave by the federal government. For employers of more than 50 people have to provide unpaid leave to their employees. But many, many states over the past few years have enacted paid leave policies. Now, these paid leave policies are mainly for sickness, you know, or although in some states – I think there are 2 or 3 states, Illinois being one of them – that are mandating employers provide paid leave just for vacations, as well.


This is a little bit different. This isn't just sort of sickness or vacations, or to take care of a family. This is additional paid leave in the state of New York for employers, that have employees that need prenatal care, as well. So, this now qualifies for some paid leave, as well.


It is a big trend that's going on around the country. Again, there are many states that are enacting mandated paid leave policies. Many of them, they put the burden on the employers to pay. The federal government, again, has not done anything with mandating paid leave, but it's certainly a discussion that's going on in the Department of Labor, and certainly one that could be possible in a second Biden administration.


But for now, when it comes to prenatal care, if you are a company in the state of New York, you are now going to be required after Jan. 1 to provide up to 20 hours in a 52-week period of paid care, paid time off for prenatal care. And again, there are other states that are also following this example. So, keep an eye on that.


The second bit of news I'm quoting from the New York Post, which is I actually, you know, reporting, government data is that unfilled jobs, job openings are really hitting a low. Job openings now are 8.5 million job openings around the country. Now, that may sound like a lot, but back in March of 2022, you know, right, you know, as we were coming out of COVID, job openings were $12.2 million and so – 12.2 million job openings.


So, right now we're down significantly like a third from where we were back in 2022 of a job openings. Job openings still remain at historic highs and in addition to that, you know, there's obviously we know we have a low unemployment rate. And, a lot of, you know, my clients and I'm sure a lot of, you know, you watching this, are also struggling to find those workers still.


So, 8.5 million is still high, but it's still significantly lower than it was just a few years ago. So, does that mean that potentially the economy is slowing down or less employers are working, you know, looking for workers? Well, it does, and I think that a lot of employers have even shaved back on some of their available openings, as well as maybe investing in technology or finding ways to be more productive with their existing workers. They’ve almost given up on finding employees. They brought in those job openings and that's why the level itself is getting lower and lower.


So, bottom line is is that job openings still at 8.5 million are still pretty high historically, but still significantly lower than what they were back in 2022, and that's a number that we certainly want to keep an eye on.


Finally, there are big changes coming to your credit cards, which both will affect you, your employees, and your business as well. And what do I mean by big changes? Well, visa has made an announcement that they are changing the way their credit cards are being issued. This is a report from the Associated Press. The Associated Press is reporting that visa is going to make a way, a change the way their cards are issued. And what is the change?


Well, you know how you've got of, say, you've got, like, credit cards and they're issued by individual banks. So, you've got a credit card for Chase Bank and a credit card for Citibank and a credit card for some other bank, right? What Visa is going to enable you to do is to have one credit card that's tied to multiple banks, so that you can just use the one card, and then that will be, you know, you could make rules and decide what banks get, you know, the different types of purchases.


And by the way, it'll be both for your credit and your debit card. So, for example, you'll have the one card and you might set up an instruction or a rule that says for any purchases less than $100, it comes off my debit card, anything over $100, it goes to my credit card. And then there will be additional rules where you can choose what banks you want to finance it from, as well.


So, it is they're trying to streamline the process into one place. They're also going to make it much easier to set up your credit cards for mobile payments. So, you can take a credit card and tap your phone and immediately set it up with, say, Apple Pay, for example, or Google Pay, as well.


You know, like those 16-digit numbers that go across your credit cards? Those are all going to be pretty irrelevant going forward. It's just going to be your credit card. It'll be biometrics, so your fingerprint to identify you will be tied to multiple banks. It'll be used for both debit and credit, and it'll be used much easier to set yourself up for mobile payment, as well.


So, what does this mean for us as individuals? It certainly lessens the light and makes our wallets lighter because we're not carrying around multiple cards. It makes payments easier. Even if we lose a credit card, we'd have to go running around – or we lose our wallet – we have to go around, you know, scrambling to replace a bunch of cards. You only have to worry about it in one place.


According to, you know, some of the analysts in the industry, it really helps Visa manage fraud, as well, because they can consolidate this and focus with just the banks that the card is associated with, and it makes it easier for them to cut down on fraud.


As businesses, we just have to be prepared that our, you know, our customers are coming in, they will use a credit card, but it might be used in different ways. So, our payment systems are probably going to have to adapt to that, which means you can look at potential changes to our payment systems or maybe upgrades that we might need to make to accept these new cards.


So, look for this. It is going to happen in the next year or two – big changes coming to our credit cards. I think we'll be hearing a lot more about this on the news, as it'll affect both consumers and small businesses.


My name is Gene Marks and you have been listening and watching the Week in Review, a podcast from Paychex. We are a THRIVE podcast. If you want any advice or tips or help in running your business, sign up for our newsletter. If you go to, you'll be able to keep up on all prior episodes of the podcast and get some good advice to help you run your business.


Again, my name is Gene Marks. Thanks for joining. I'll be back next week with some more tips or actually some more news that impacts your business, and some thoughts on how to navigate around that news. Take care.


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