Michael Jonas: Families come in all shapes and sizes, paid leave must include them all

In 2019, the reality is that families come in all shapes and sizes. The definition of family in both a conceptual and definitive sense can no longer be limited to a married man and woman or a birth mother and her biological children. In fact, the overwhelming majority of households today do not fit into the ‘traditional nuclear family’ mold.

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Dr. Thuy Tran: Paid leave is a win-win for small business

Dr. Thuy Tran

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.

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Amber Halbert Childress: I can’t make paid leave a reality on my own

Recently, I gave birth to my third child. The concerns that come along with having a child at a more mature age pale in comparison to the stress that accompanied the pregnancy and birth of my first two children. Back then, I was was waiting tables and bartending. I was on my feet all the time, and my growing belly took a toll on my body and overall health. To make matters worse, I did not have access to the leave I needed to heal and learn to be a mom after my babies arrived. I had to be back at work and on my feet long before I should have been, and suffered both physical and emotional complications unnecessarily.

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Christie Bateman: We need a collective paid leave solution

I started my own dental practice just over two years ago, motivated by the need to create a family friendly work environment for myself and my employees. I’d practiced at another office for six years, but I left during my pregnancy because the work culture there punished employees who chose to start or grow their families. Totally upset with how I had been treated, after my son was born I knew I couldn’t go back to work somewhere that didn’t value parenthood and the contributions of parents to the workplace.

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Tony Sandkamp: Paid leave reduces costly turnover expenses and strengthens the bottom line

Tony Sandkamp

I’m a proud supporter of New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance Program, which helps small businesses like mine provide paid family and medical leave to my four employees. All small businesses and workers, in every state, should be able to count on a program with the same benefits and protections. New Jersey’s program worked for my business, and it should be the baseline for the country.

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Nakpangi Thomas: As a small business owner and a mental health specialist, I strongly support a paid family and medical leave social insurance program

Nakpangi Thomas

Thomas Traumatology Institute works to provide mental health and trauma recovery services to children, families, and the community. Our business is built on trust and interpersonal relationships; we rely on our community. We’re dedicated to provide the best care possible for families in need. Every day we see families in crisis, and while we provide professional support, there are many times when our clients need a family member to be there for them or time off to care for themselves. As a small business owner and a mental health specialist, I strongly support a paid family and medical leave social insurance program.

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Ana Martinez: Paid family leave should support all workers

Ana MartinezI immigrated to Woodburn, Oregon in my twenties with my eight month old baby. I worked for many years in low-paid jobs where the working conditions were difficult. First working in the tulip fields, as well as on other crops. Then in a tortilla shop with long days and no breaks. Next I spent 12 years working six, sometimes seven, days a week at a Mexican restaurant. While working 14 hour days at the restaurant, I missed key moments in my children’s lives, but I was the primary provider and needed to work.

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Tameka Ramsey: I’ve done the math, and it would cost me way more to train new incoming staff than it does to provide paid leave

Tameka RamseyT. Ramsey & Associates opened just over three years ago. We provide strategic planning and support to small businesses and nonprofits to help them grow. We’re dedicated to creating opportunities for black women in Detroit to succeed; I employ single mothers with children who have physical health issues; women who have mental health issues; women who are the primary caregiver for their aging parent(s). I understand that these women come to me at the intersection of being an employee, mother, daughter, wife; expert in their subject; but, most of all; being a black women.

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Sarah Piepenberg: For small businesses like mine, there are NO private insurance options

Sarah Piepenberg

The lack of paid leave is a huge problem for me as a small business owner. I have five employees. When one of my employees broke both her arms two years ago, I had to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for medical leave. This year, I have an employee who needs a hip replacement, and we expect that she will be out for 10 weeks. I want to be able to cover her, but doing so would be a huge financial hit to our business and our family. The last time we covered medical leave out of pocket, we fell behind on our commercial lease and home mortgage.

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KB Brown: As a business owner, if you don’t work, you don’t eat.

So many small businesses and entrepreneurs fail because of one problem or misstep along the way, and too often, it has nothing to do with their business. I’ve seen this happen to many people who try to start their own business. And far too often, things have happened to me and my family that are beyond my control.

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