A federal plan must include small businesses
The day after the launch of the Small Business for Paid Leave Coalition, the Business Roundtable, a group of large corporation CEOs, put out a letter in support of speedy action by Congress on a paid family and medical leave program.
“It is great to see the Business Roundtable leaders speak up for paid family and medical leave, inclusive of leave to care for a new child, or a serious personal or family illness, and with job protection for all leave-takers. However, details matter.” said Executive Director of the Main Street Alliance Amanda Ballantyne. “Their version of paid leave will carve out small businesses and their employees, only advantaging large corporations.”
Any paid leave program must include small businesses. The Business Roundtable’s proposal, working off the current limitations of the FMLA, will continue to leave out millions of employees — in fact 40 percent of the workforce. It would carve small businesses with less than 50 employees as well as self-employed workers out of a paid leave program, employers who desperately need support to offer paid leave and level the playing field with large corporations.
"We're glad the Business Roundtable is joining the discussion about the need for a paid family leave program and how that should work for employers," said John Arensmeyer, founder & CEO of Small Business Majority. "We know many small businesses just don't have the resources to offer paid family and medical leave, putting them at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting and retaining employees. This is why we need a strong national paid family and medical leave insurance program like the FAMILY Act, which is supported by more than 70 percent of small businesses.“
Earlier this year, the Business Roundtable made headlines saying the purpose of corporations needs to be expanded and include all stakeholders, yet the Business Roundtable proposal calls for all contributions to be paid by employees. This puts all the financial burden on families already stretched in their pocketbooks, even when we know paid leave programs are good for the business bottom line.
“Stakeholders do matter and taking care of American families can be better served by comprehensive paid family and medical leave. We are thrilled to have the Business Roundtable joining ours and other business organizations in supporting federal legislation to provide these benefits that so many other countries provide,” said David Levine, Co-founder and President of ASBC. “Now it’s time to work out the specifics and the FAMILY Act provides that framework. We need a comprehensive paid leave program offered through every business of all sizes and to every American family no matter where they work or live.”
The recent Panorama and American Sustainable Business Council report The Business Impacts of Paid Leave puts to rest questions about bottom-line costs and benefits of paid leave programs. The study found that companies with paid leave programs averaged increases of 4.6% in revenue and 6.8% in profit on a full-time equivalent (FTE) basis.
These findings should help policymakers understand that paid leave is not just a benefit to society, but to businesses’ bottom lines and the economy as a whole.”
“In New Jersey, and the states that have led on this issue, state programs should be able to continue to innovate to meet the needs of small businesses and our employees, not be limited by a ceiling set by big business,” said Tony Sandkamp, small business owner of Sandkamp Woodworks who recently testified on paid leave to the Ways and Means Committee. “We need a plan that doesn’t just work for big business, we need a plan that works for everybody.”
We invite the Business Roundtable to join us in working for a policy that builds an economy for all businesses. The Small Business for Paid Leave Coalition has developed a set of principles on comprehensive paid leave that supports businesses of all sizes.
The Small Business for Paid Leave Coalition is supporting small business owners as they speak out on how a publicly managed and funded paid family and medical leave program is good for all of us. Its members include Main Street Alliance, American Sustainable Business Council, Family Values @ Work, MomsRising, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, National Partnership on Women and Families, and Small Business Majority.