Small Businesses Call on MN Legislature to Pass Statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Pool Legislation

For Immediate Release
March 5th, 2020

Contact: Corinne Horowitz 
State Director, Main Street Alliance MN
corinne@mainstreetalliance.org (612) 232-1655

Minneapolis, MN - Ahead of the vote on Minnesota’s paid family and medical leave program (H.F. 5), small business owners and advocacy organizations are coming together to support the program and remind legislators why a comprehensive paid leave social insurance program will support Minnesota’s small businesses.

As small businesses and business organizations across the state, we know business owners and employees alike experience the need for time to recover from a serious illness, care for a sick loved one, or welcome a new child. Protecting such time is good for business. It strengthens talent recruitment, boosts employee morale, and increases productivity. Most small businesses lack the scale and capital to offer and administer paid leave on their own. A state-wide policy like HF 5 will level the playing field for small businesses across the state.

Statements of Support for Paid Family and Medical Leave:

 

"Paid Family and Medical Leave is an affordable, cost-effective solution to help small business owners to compete with larger employers, enabling them to provide an important benefit to their employees."  - Elaine Wyatt, Executive Director of Womenventure

“The absence of paid family and medical leave is an enormous problem for all businesses, but especially for women-owned businesses. Women, both workers and small business owners, are looking for policies that will allow them to meet caregiving and other responsibilities without losing out on wages, a raise, or their dream of owning a business. Minnesota small businesses are counting on our legislature to create a strong family and medical leave policy that supports not only the economic growth of the state, but also the health and wellbeing of its people.” - Lani Basa, Owner of Business Women’s Circle 

"As the first co-working space in the State of Minnesota to offer childcare, we're doing the work required to help women step into their economic power. The barriers to economic access for women include having no paid leave. After staying home to care for a new baby, women often start their own businesses, but the lack of paid leave continues to put up financial, mental, and physical barriers. A paid family and medical leave insurance pool would make Minnesota a magnet for entrepreneurs and small businesses." -Alex Steinman, co- Founder of The Coven in St Paul

“As a small business owners, we want to help strengthen our communities and invest in our people, but it can be extremely difficult to live this value when we are unable to afford to support employees through a paid family leave benefit.  The lack of paid leave creates turnover or forces people to return to work early if they can’t afford to go unpaid. Having a child is a huge life event and people choosing to experience this should be supported but the community they live in - those healthy babies and families are the future of our communities! This is actually a payroll tax that would help small businesses cost share and support our community” - Kelsy Willison, Bluebird Cakery in Fairbault 

“I am co- owner of a landscaping business in Minneapolis.  I am pregnant and due at the end of March, which is exciting, but it’s been very challenging to plan maternity leave without access to a paid family and medical leave insurance pool which as a self employed person, I would be able to have access with paid family and medical leave.  This would also help our seasonal employees have access to benefits, as long as they are on for 90 days.” Shannon McWalters, Light Dark Landscape in St Paul

"Everyone should have time to take care of their families, regardless of where or for whom they work...But, as a small business owner, I can’t afford to pay for 12 weeks of leave on my own, so we’ve had to improvise" Gino Marinaro owner of Paddy’s Game Shoppe in St Cloud

"If one or both of us were injured or became seriously ill for an extended period, the chances are good that we would have to close a school that has been in business for over 14 years...Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance is good for businesses, working Minnesotans, and everyone in our community. Giving self-employed people, like myself, the chance to opt in makes paid leave programs that much stronger" Nicki Jones, Kuk Sool Won, St. Paul 

"It would be great if all businesses could afford to let folks have the flexibility they need in a crisis, but that’s just not the case, particularly for small business. That’s why we need an affordable, state-run paid family and medical leave program with a statewide insurance pool" Joel Vikre, Vikre Distillery in Duluth