Main Street small businesses call for paid leave, share their values
Main Street Alliance small businesses celebrated National Small Business Week (May 5-11) by calling for paid leave policies in states and nationally. Tony Sandkamp, Owner of Sandkamp Woodworks in New Jersey, traveled to D.C. to testify in the House Committee on Ways and Means in support of the FAMILY Act on Wednesday, May 8. This historic hearing is the first time the House of Representatives has dedicated a full hearing to issue of paid family and medical leave -- and the voice of small business was there, alongside workers and advocates, detailing the difference paid leave policies make for Main Street.
Tony’s situation exemplifies the importance of universal and inclusive paid family and medical leave to small business. He lost a valued employee whose mom was dying and was not able take unpaid time off to care for her. In recent years, with the passage of the NJ State Paid Leave program, he has been able to support his employees to take leave when they are welcoming a new child or dealing with a serious personal or family medical issue. Tony’s before and after snapshot illustrates just how critical a public paid family and medical leave policy is for all working people -- including small business owners themselves.
Small business week serves as an important reminder to Shop Your Values
Small business owners across the country relaunched the Shop Your Values campaign during Small Business Week. Main Street business owners created their own unique content to lift up their values. As a result, Main Street Alliance channels saw over 700 percent increase in engagement, compared to the Shop Your Values holiday campaign, including an exciting uptick on Instagram (connect with us @mainstreetalliance_). Check out some awesome posts from Main Street small business owners here, here, and here.
Small Business Week awareness activities support MSA’s ongoing efforts in D.C. and eight states to pass paid family and medical leave, as well as earned safe and sick time.
- Vermont: Main Street Alliance, co-chair of the Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance Coalition, continues leading the charge for a statewide family and medical leave insurance program. Despite efforts to water down the bill, MSA-VT is committed to ensuring adequate time for each parent to bond with a new child as well as time to care for a family member and to recover from an illness or injury is included.
Ana Tsantir, owner of Two Bettys Green Cleaning Service in Minnesota, describes how paid leave serves as a retention tool for businesses of all sizes.
Minnesota: On May 3, small businesses joined a roundtable with Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan to discuss why Paid Leave is so critical for small businesses and families. MSA-MN also released a storybook chock full of stories from across Minnesota. Butter Bakery Owner, Dan Swenson Klatt, took his advocacy to his business email list.
- Oregon: MSA-OR small businesses continue to voice support for HB3031, which would create a statewide family and medical leave insurance program.
Nevada: MSA is working with the Time to Care Nevada Coalition. Despite small business support for the earned sick and safe time bill, the legislature is likely to move forward with a bill that carves out the state’s small employers. Small business voices will be critical to improving the law in future years.
Maine: Thanks to over 200 small business owners who signed on to show their support, earned paid sick time continues to move forward in Maine. It would be the first state to guarantee that part-time and full time workers have the right to paid time off to use as they need.
- New Jersey: New Jersey Citizen Action, Time to Care, Main Street Alliance of New Jersey and other partners are celebrating significant expansion of the state Paid Family and Medical leave law, effective June 30, with a more inclusive family definition, expanded job protection and funding for outreach to workers and small business. Tony Sandkamp’s testimony to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee highlighted the importance of this program to small business.
Wondering why it’s Small Business MONTH and not Small Business Week?
We’re planning outreach to elected officials throughout the month to share stories of small business owners from around the country who support Paid Leave and the FAMILY Act. Are you interested in joining our effort?