California Small Businesses Support Expanding State Paid Sick Days and Family Leave Policies

For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, July 12, 2023

New poll finds the majority of California small business owners support increasing state benefits as a way of better retaining highly skilled and experienced employees

Sacramento, Calif. - While California legislators consider updating the state’s paid family leave and sick days policies, today, Small Business Majority released a new poll showing small business support for expanding family leave protections and other employee benefits. A vast majority of small business owners believe that employee benefits offered by the state can benefit their business.

The poll, conducted by Lake Research Partners, finds that small business owners are strongly supportive of paid family leave policies, including a recent state law that expanded job protections to guarantee up to 12 weeks of protected leave for employees while on extended sick, family, medical, disability or parental leave (87% support). Additionally, they support new policies on the table to expand paid family leave, including a measure to remove the requirement that employees take unused vacation time before they can take paid leave (88%), and allowing an employee to take leave to care for someone other than family but who is like family, such as a guardian (86%). What’s more, an overwhelming majority of owners (85%) support the California State Legislature expanding guaranteed annual paid sick days that employers must offer from three to seven days.

The need for more comprehensive state leave benefits comes as small business owners report experiencing several changes to their businesses in the past year. Most are experiencing a period of growth, with headcounts and revenue having risen since last year. Despite these positive changes, smaller firms need help offering their employees benefits. For instance: 

  • 91% are struggling financially to provide flex time
  • 88% are struggling financially to provide maternity leave
  • 83% are struggling financially to provide family medical leave

“Our research shows that small business owners in California believe it is important to have access to a host of benefits to retain employees and obtain financial security,” said Bianca Blomquist, California Policy Director & Northern California Outreach Director of Small Business Majority. “Small business owners are excited about the possibilities a new benefits policy can provide, opening the door to level the playing field for attracting and retaining quality talent. As the legislature considers measures to expand its paid leave program, we hope they note that today's entrepreneurs and small business employees support a robust benefits infrastructure that promotes quality jobs for those who do not work for large organizations.”

This poll reflects a survey of 400 small business owners with between 3-100 employees in California. The poll was an online survey conducted by Lake Research Partners on behalf of Small Business Majority. The margin of error is +/- 4.9%. To read the full report, click here.


About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority is a national small business organization that empowers America's diverse entrepreneurs to build a thriving and equitable economy. We engage our network of more than 85,000 small businesses and 1,500 business and community organizations to advocate for public policy solutions and deliver resources to entrepreneurs that promote equitable small business growth. Our deep connections with the small business community along with our scientific research enable us to educate the public about key issues impacting America’s entrepreneurs, with a special focus on advancing the smallest businesses and those facing systemic inequalities. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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