New Paid Family & Medical Leave Program will Boost Maine Small Businesses
Statement by Lindsey Vigoda, National Quality Jobs Policy Director at Small Business Majority, on how the enactment of a state-run paid family & medical leave program will help small employers compete with big businesses for talent
"We’re thrilled that Governor Janet Mills approved a measure in the budget to enact a state-administered paid family and medical leave program. This program will be a win-win for small businesses and their employees by facilitating access to a benefit that small businesses have historically struggled to offer.
We know from our research that small businesses want to offer robust benefits like paid family and medical leave, but they often can’t afford to do so on their own, putting them at a competitive disadvantage with larger companies. In fact, Small Business Majority’s research has found that the vast majority of small business owners support state and federal policies that provide access to paid family and medical leave.
What’s more, in states that have already created their own programs, the vast majority of small employers reported positive effects on productivity and increased employee morale. Businesses in these states also reported an increase in employee retention once their employees gained access to paid family and medical leave, ensuring businesses do not have to spend additional time and money recruiting and training new employees. Lastly, paid family leave has boosted labor force participation, which is vitally important now given ongoing workforce shortages.
This program was designed to address the unique needs of local Maine small businesses and set a modest contribution fee that can be equally split between employers and employees. Small businesses with less than 15 workers are not required to pay the premium at all, which will benefit nearly 98% of all small businesses in Maine, including the self-employed.
We applaud Governor Mills for approving this proposal and encourage the state to implement the program swiftly."
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 Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.