For Main Street businesses, healthy families are part of our bottom line. Most of us will need to provide care at some point in our life either to welcome a new baby, care for an aging parent, or for our own unexpected health crisis like cancer. That shouldn’t be a financial struggle for any of us, whether we’re a business owner or an employee.
Our businesses benefit when employees can take time to care for their families and return ready to work. Paid leave helps reduce turnover and boost employee morale and loyalty, increasing productivity and cost savings for our small businesses.
Few people have access to paid leave, though. Fixing this is a key part of helping Main Street and making our country more equal. The racial wealth gap means employees and business owners of color have less financial cushion for taking time off, but they also have more limited access to paid leave. And, with most caregiving still falling to women, paid leave is an important gender equity measure for business owners and employees alike.
Main Street businesses can’t go it alone. Large corporations wield the market power to offer paid family and medical leave. We don’t.
That’s why we support the the creation of a paid family and medical leave social insurance program, to help small businesses and families in emergencies and times of need and that:
- Helps small businesses recruit and retain valued employees and create secure, stable jobs;
- Lets employees and business owners take 12 weeks of qualifying leave each year to care for a seriously ill family member, welcome a new child, or take care of one’s own health needs;
- Increases financial security by providing wage replacement to enable employees to take time off and meet their expenses;
- Spreads the cost of leave through a self-sustaining national insurance fund with small employee and employer contributions (estimated at less than $2 each week);
- Covers freelancers and the self-employed;
- Provides leave to care for parents, children, spouses, domestic partners, and other family
- Is publicly administered to ensure ease of administration by small business
It’s time for Congress to give Main Street businesses a fighting chance. Lawmakers in six states and the District of Columbia have adopted paid family and medical leave programs -- with strong results for Main Street businesses and their employees. We want Congress to build on that success with a national program. We support The Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act (H. 1185/S. 463), a paid family and medical leave program that works for Main Street.
Big corporations win and small businesses struggle when lawmakers fail to act. Let’s level the playing field for small businesses, strengthen economic opportunities for our families and communities, and promote greater racial and gender equity by passing strong paid family and medical leave legislation.