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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Members of the Minnesota Legislature,
Millions of employees across the country are working hard to make ends meet, but our nation is falling short of providing them the support they need to manage the demands of job and family.
Paid family and medical leave is a policy most employees will need at one point or another, but only 13 percent of the countries workforce has access to paid family leave through their employers.
Our communities are missing out on the economic stability and economy-boosting effects of keeping people employed while welcoming a new family member, caring for sick loved one, or recovering from their own illness or injury.
It is time lawmakers leveled the playing field for small business owners and put in place a policy and administrative office to help us meet the needs of our employees in ways that, to this point, only our largest competitors can.
In Minnesota, The Paid Family and Medical Leave Act would create a state-administered, self-sustaining insurance program providing Minnesota workers with modest but meaningful benefits, up to 12 weeks of partial wage replacement for medical (including pregnancy) AND up to 12 weeks for family leave (including new child bonding) from a state fund, so Minnesotans can take care of themselves and their families.
To work for small businesses, the Paid Family & Medical Leave Act must be:
- Meaningful: Provide up to 12 weeks of partial wage replacement for pregnancy, medical, or family leave. Replace wages on a progressive scale at 90%-55% of an employee’s salary
- Comprehensive and specific in addressing both family and medical needs. An inclusive family definition should be used to cover the range of family configurations and care responsibilities that business owners and their employees face.
- Inclusive All individuals who work, including self employed individuals, should have the ability to earn extended leave from work to care for their families or themselves, without fear of losing their job.
- Simple. The implementation process should be simple and minimize the administrative responsibilities of small business owners.
- Sustainable Funding Financed in a way that is affordable and cost effective for small business owners and their employees.
A statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program would benefit our employees, their families, our businesses and our economy and we strongly urge your support.
The cost of inaction on paid family and medical leave by Sarah Piepenburg, Owner of Vinaigrette, April 26th, 2019
Why I’m for Minnesota-backed paid family leave (and every business that wants to be around in 15 years should be, too) by Nancy Lyons, owner of Clockwork, March 11th, 2019
Paid family leave makes sense for small businesses and their employees by Thea Farrington, owner of Perfect Day Cakes and Central Park Café, December 21st, 2018
Paid-leave bill will benefit employees and small businesses alike by Todd Mikkelson, owner of Sprayrack, April 7th, 2016
Read a simple summary of the legislation from Minnesotans for Paid Family and Medical Leave
See our Fact Sheet
Read HF5 Paid Family & Medical Leave Legislation HERE
More resources including videos, surveys, research and more HERE
Like Minnesotans for Paid Family Leave on Facebook
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.
Bryce Covert’s Aug 13, 2018 piece reminded me about an employee and his wife who recently were expecting twins. New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance Program allowed him to get the time he needed to support his wife and bond with his twins. We made adjustments; he got paid time with his family; and he’s still a vital part of my business.Read more