For Main Street businesses, our bottom lines depend on healthy families. At some point in our lives, most of us will need to step away from work to welcome a new baby, care for a sick loved one or recover from an illness. Life events like these shouldn’t be compounded by financial hardship.
Our businesses benefit when employees can 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.
Paid leave helps increase equity, as well. Workers and business owners of color have less financial cushion for taking time off, and they also have more limited access to paid leave. And with most care giving 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 a statewide paid leave law for Virginia and efforts to create a national paid leave policy. A smart paid leave law will help small businesses and families in emergencies and times of need. A good policy will:
✓ Let workers and business owners take up to 12 weeks away from work to care for a family member, welcome a new child, or recover from an illness
✓ Increase financial security by providing partial wage replacement (at around 2/3 or 65-70%)
✓ Spread the cost of leave through a self-sustaining insurance fund with small employee and employer contributions of less than $2 each week
✓ Help small businesses retain valued employees and create secure, stable jobs
✓ Cover freelancers and the self-employed
✓ Have an inclusive family definition that covers parents, children, spouses, and domestic partners
It’s time for our representatives to give Main Street businesses a fighting chance. Lawmakers in six states have adopted paid family and medical leave to good results for Main Street businesses and workers. We want our representatives in Richmond and Washington build on that success.
Big corporations win when lawmakers fail to act. Let’s level the playing field for small businesses and our workers, and promote racial and gender equity, by passing strong paid family and medical leave legislation.
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One of the issues I am concerned about in the election, specifically Governor’s race is electing a candidate who will pass paid family leave legislation. I was part of the effort to pass earned sick and safe time in Minneapolis and then protect it against preemption at the state level, but it’s not always quite enough for small businesses like mine.
Good bakers and cooks are hard to find and keep. I do everything I can to reduce turnover at my cafe, and paying fair wages is part of that. I was an early adopter of earned sick and safe time when the ordinance came to Minneapolis, and it’s been good for my business. My employees know they will be taken care of, so they are loyal and work hard and that benefits my business. Last spring, when one of my two full-time bakers found out his partner was pregnant, I was one of the first people to know. They were worried about taking time to be off and wanted to be able to plan.
While the employee had earned six days worth of paid time off, I decided to pay three weeks paternity leave. Honestly, it cost me quite a bit, and was even more challenging as I had to pay another employee overtime to cover the missing employee’s time. To make up expenses like these, I end up just not paying myself.
It was the right thing to do, and I am glad that the family had that time together, but I can’t imagine doing this for more than one employee in a year. Restaurants run on a very small profit margin. We need more support for paid family leave to pass next session. I will support candidates who make it easier for small businesses like mine to provide benefits to employees, so people can work at our restaurants and retail shops and still have a high quality of life and access to healthcare and basic benefits like family leave.
As business owners and executives, we support the creation of a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program in Massachusetts. It’s good for our businesses, our customers, our employees, and our entire economy.
Employees are also customers. After a medical emergency or the birth of a new child, many in our community are forced to choose between taking care of a family member or keeping the job that puts food on the table. Paid family and medical leave insurance would allow everyone working in Massachusetts to take time off from their job while receiving benefits from a state insurance fund, increasing sales at local businesses as workers buy products and services they could not otherwise afford. Nothing drives job creation more than consumer demand.
Paid leave helps businesses. Paid family and medical leave leads to healthier and more productive employees, and reduced employee turnover means lower recruitment and training costs for employers. Because employees on leave would receive their benefits from a state trust fund, businesses could afford to hire temporary replacement workers (or pay existing employees overtime) with the money they would otherwise use to pay an employee taking leave.
It’s tested and proven. In other states like California, New York, Rhode Island, and New Jersey, both businesses and their employees report positive effects from paid family and medical leave. In a survey six years after California’s law was implemented, 89 to 99 percent of employers reported that paid family and medical leave had either a “positive effect” or “no noticeable effect” on productivity, profitability/performance, turnover, and employee morale. Not having paid family and medical leave puts our businesses at a competitive disadvantage compared to businesses in states that do.
Paid leave improves our economy. Research show that paid family and medical leave improves women’s labor force participation, which helps reduce inequality and promotes economic growth. Paid leave also keeps money in the pockets of families, who then spend it in the local economy.
Everyone, including business owners, benefit when our employees can afford to take time off to take care of their health, the health of a loved one, or a new child. We support the creation of a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program in Massachusetts, paid for by equal employer and employee contributions.
Sign now to support Paid Family & Medical Leave in Massachusetts:Become a volunteer