Photo: https://www.wartburg.edu/2015/12/29/savoring-success-popcorn-heaven/

Millions of people in the United States do not have paid family and medical leave at their jobs, including small business owners themselves.

Across the country, small business owners are joining with allies to work to pass paid family and medical leave in our states and nationally.

 

 
 
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Public

support a national paid family and medical leave policy that covers all working people

 
 
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Small Business

support establishing a federal program to guarantee access to paid family and medical leave

 
 

 

Small businesses are advancing the case for national paid leave through customer engagement, public education, policy advocacy and more.  

 

Across sectors, small businesses support a national paid family and medical leave policy to support families, strengthen the workforce and build a stronger economy.  

 
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Policy details matter
to small business.

Healthy families and people are part of main street businesses’ bottom line. A strong paid leave plan must include a few key principles to make it work for families and small business.

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Healthy families mean healthy small businesses and strong local economies.

Paid family and medical leave is a policy most people will need at one point or another.

Just 17 percent of workers have access to paid family leave through their employers, and fewer than 40 percent have employer provided personal medical leave to care for a personal illness.

 

Get Involved

As the owner of a small business, you play an important role in shaping public policy. Small businesses are natural leaders in our community. To foster healthy local economies, we must invest in policies that help small businesses become employers of choice in their communities.

 

Add your name in support of a national paid family and medical leave insurance solution.

 

Resources

 
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Small businesses are advocating for change.

 
 
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Karen Lamy DeSousa, Advance Heat & Air, East Freetown, Massachusetts

“If it’s good enough for Massachusetts, why can’t it work across the United States? People should be able to take paid time away from work to welcome a new child, care for a sick loved one, or recover from an illness of their own. Thanks to the laws we’ve passed here in the Commonwealth, working people can soon do all those things. In 2018, Massachusetts passed legislation that guarantees access to paid family and medical leave beginning in 2021.

“However, the rest of America may not be as lucky. There has been a lot of talk about different proposals, from universal paid family and medical leave insurance to a restrictive and exclusive parental leave bill. A strong national paid family and medical leave policy makes a difference to me as a business owner who knows that caring for people is an important part of my bottom line. Policies like this help small businesses like mine and the 20 employees I’m responsible for.”


Dr. Thuy Tran, Rose City Vision Care, Portland, Oregon

“A week after I gave birth to my child I had to go back to work. I had not been in business long and had no money saved. Luckily, my mom was able to come and be at my office to help care for my child while I was with patients. I had to nurse in between appointments, which was really stressful.

“While my mother was able to help me out then, soon I may need to help her.  She is getting older and has diabetes. If she was to get sick or have something serious happen, I don’t know what I would do. I want a paid family and medical leave policy to be there, in case anything happens to her. Paying a little bit over time for the insurance benefit just makes sense. Then when I or when of my employees need to take leave, the support is there. This is affordable for small business.  What is not affordable is to have to pay for leave all at once.

“It could mean the difference between keeping the business open or us needing to close our doors, and my eight employees losing their livelihoods too.”

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Tony Sandkamp, SandKamp WoodWorks, Jersey City, new Jersey

“Four years ago one of my employees came to me and said his wife was having twins. He needed help getting some paid time off, and we weren’t sure to what to do. Luckily, I had a friend who knew about New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance Program. The paperwork was pretty straightforward. We filled it out together and sent it in, and he got two thirds of his wages replaced while bonding with his twins. He is a very important part of my business, and this was very important to his life. So we made adjustments, he got some paid time with his family, and he’s still with us.  

“I also remember life before our paid leave program, and I know that’s still the reality for most small businesses and workers around the country.  In 2006, before there was any such program, I had an employee who had to leave his job because of family needs. I only found out after the fact that his mother was dying of cancer, around the Christmas season. He could have really used the New Jersey Family Leave Insurance then. This was awful for him.  It was a tough loss for me personally since along with losing an employee, I also lost a longtime friend.  It was also detrimental to my business.  He had been my best employee for several years and performed many critical management functions.  The costs of the time and money it took to replace him were astronomical. I had to take time away from my responsibilities as the owner to fill the gap in the interim.

“The difference the state Family Leave Insurance Law has made for my employees and my business is clear.”