Scientific Opinion Poll: Colorado Small Businesses Overwhelmingly Support Paid Family & Medical Leave Proposal
New poll finds majority of small employers favor a state program funded by both employee and employer contributions; majority of smallest businesses in the state are currently unable to offer any form of family and medical leave
Denver — A scientific opinion poll released today reveals Colorado small businesses are struggling to offer family and medical leave benefits to their employees, and an overwhelming majority support a proposal to establish a state-run paid family and medical leave program.
The poll, conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting on behalf of Small Business Majority, found nearly two-thirds of Colorado small business owners (64 percent) support establishing a publicly-administered family and medical leave insurance program in the state. The poll was a survey of 300 Colorado small business owners with 2 to 50 employees conducted between March 11 and March 20, 2019.
The proposed insurance program would provide employees with a portion of their wages for up to 12 weeks when the employee has a serious illness, has a new baby to care for or needs to provide care for a seriously ill family member. The current proposal would be funded through insurance premiums paid from payroll contributions shared by employees and employers—each contributing approximately one half of 1 percent of an employee’s wages. More than 1 in 3 respondents strongly support this proposal.
"I would love to be able to provide paid family and medical leave benefits to my two part-time, hard-working employees but my business is just too small right now to cover the costs," said Cassandra Allen-Brown, owner of Bags By CAB – Yarn Shoppe in Denver. "This is why a state-run paid leave insurance pool would be a boon for my business. Being able to provide access to a benefit like this at a low cost to my business would help me keep current employees and make me more competitive when searching for new talent. This proposal would be not only a job retainer, but a job creator for very small businesses like mine."
The poll also illustrates that many Colorado small business owners are struggling to offer family and medical leave to all employees and to offer full pay to those who are able to take leave. While a majority of all respondents say they offer access to maternity leave, paternity leave or both, two-thirds of respondents currently offer only unpaid leave or partial pay, or they do not have any sort of parental leave policy. What’s more, 58 percent of businesses with 2-10 employees don't offer any type of leave, and these businesses comprise the majority of businesses in Colorado.
“As this survey reveals our state’s smallest businesses—which make up the bulk of all businesses in the Colorado—are struggling to offer any sort of family and medical leave to their employees, and this is putting them at a disadvantage when hiring and retaining talented employees,” said Small Business Majority Colorado Director Hunter Railey. “The state has an opportunity to level the playing field for these businesses so they can better compete with their big business counterparts when it comes to offering robust benefit packages, and it’s time to act.”
Support for this proposal is strong across demographic groups. A 54 percent majority of the smallest businesses (those with 2-5 employees) support the proposed program, and support is high among restaurant (68 percent) and retail (75 percent) small business owners. Additionally, 58 percent of Republican or Republican-leaning respondents support the proposed program, revealing the proposal finds strong support across party lines.
For the full poll report, please visit: https://smallbusinessmajority.org/our-research/workforce/colorado-small-businesses-support-paid-family-medical-leave
About Small Business Majority
Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of a thriving and inclusive economy. We actively engage our network of more than 58,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.