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Small Businesses Support Paid Family Leave Programs

Publisher: 
Small Business Majority and Center for American Progress
Date: 
Thursday, 30 March, 2017

Small business owners know it makes good business sense to take care of their employees, as it’s crucial to retaining a productive and talented workforce. But unfortunately many small businesses do not have the resources to offer robust benefits, like paid family and medical leave, which often puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting and retaining employees. It’s not surprising then that new scientific opinion polling found small businesses support the creation of publicly-administered family and medical leave insurance programs.

A national scientific opinion poll conducted February 8-13, 2017 for Small Business Majority by Lake Research Partners found a majority of small business owners and operators support paid family leave insurance pools, which provide employees with a portion of their wages for a limited number of weeks when the employee has a serious illness, has a new baby to care for or needs to take care of a seriously ill family member. A vast 70% of respondents support the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, or FAMILY Act, legislation that would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program funded by modest contributions from both employees and employer contributions. The program would ensure employees can receive up to 12 weeks of partial income when they need to take time off to recover from an illness or care for a new child or sick family member.

Key Findings

Small employers believe it’s important to establish a national paid family and medical leave program: While small businesses are supportive of a federal law allowing eligible workers to take unpaid family and medical leave, the vast majority (70%) believe it’s important to establish a federal program to guarantee access to paid family and medical leave. 

Majority of small businesses support the FAMILY Act, legislation that would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program funded by employee and employer contributions to ensure men and women in the workforce can receive up to 12 weeks of partial income: 7 in 10 small business owners and operators say they support creating a family and medical leave insurance program funded by both employer and employee contributions. Nearly half (47%) say they strongly favor the legislation. 

Vast majority of small businesses support legislation establishing a national paid family and medical leave insurance program 

As you may know, a new Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act was recently introduced in Congress to establish a national PAID family and medical leave insurance program for both men and women to ensure that American workers can receive up to 12 weeks of partial income when they take time off. The FAMILY Act establishes a self-sustaining national insurance fund paid through employee and employer contributions. Would you say you generally FAVOR or OPPOSE the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act?

Small employers support state-administered paid family and medical leave insurance programs: A majority of small businesses also support paid family and medical leave insurance programs set up at the state level that would provide employees with a portion of their wages for a limited number of weeks when the employee has a serious illness, has a new baby to care for or needs to care for a seriously ill family member. Sixty-one percent support state paid leave programs funded by both employer and employee contributions, with each contributing approximately two-tenths of 1% of an employee’s wage. Fifty-six percent support program funded entirely by employee contributions—approximately two-fifths of 1% of an employee’s wages. 

Small businesses support state-administered paid family leave insurance programs

Majority of small businesses offer some sort of parental leave to allow employees to care for a new child: 26% offer maternity leave, and nearly 4 in 10 (37%) offer both maternity and paternity leave. Thirty-four percent say they do not offer any parental leave. For those employers who do offer parental leave, the vast majority offer paid parental leave. Sixty-nine percent offer full or partial pay and 18% offer pay depending on the employee. Only 13% do not offer any paid parental leave. 

Majority of small businesses offer parental leave / Majority of those with a policy offer full or partial pay

7 in 10 small businesses have some type of policy—formal or informal—in place when it comes to family leave—time an employee would take to care for a family member with a serious illness or caregiving need: More than 7 in 10 (72%) small businesses have either a formal written policy, a consistent but not written policy or an informal policy offered on a case-by-case basis to provide family leave. Twenty-four percent do not offer family leave. Of those employers who do offer family leave, 61% offer full or partial pay and 22% offer pay depending on the employee. Eighteen percent do not offer any paid family leave. 

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State(s): 
National