Commentary

NC business owner explains need for paid leave law

In case you missed it earlier this week, there was a great op-ed in Raleigh’s News & Observer by local businesswoman and yoga studio owner Monica Shannon about the importance of paid leave for workers and why a law requiring it would be good for business.

Here’s the conclusion to “Small businesses need paid leave”:

I recently learned about a proposal in Congress called the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMILY) Act, which would establish an insurance program to cover working people who need to take family medical leave. The program would function in a similar way to workers’ compensation. Employers and employees would pay into the system at a fraction of a cent, and the fund would cover up to two-thirds of an employee’s regular pay for up to 12 weeks while the employee is on leave.

While I do feel some anxiety about mandating paid family medical leave, a proposal like the FAMILY Act would make it far more feasible for me and many other small-business owners to provide this critical benefit to our employees. A growing body of workplace research (and common sense) tells us that offering employees the ability to take time off with pay to care for their families increases employee longevity and performance, which means paid leave benefits me as an employer, too.

The whole point of my business is supporting people in our community to become stronger, healthier and more resilient. I do my best to ensure my business stays true to those values, but when it comes to offering paid leave, I can’t do it alone. Small-business owners need a paid leave system that shares the risk, minimizes the burden on individual employers and perhaps most importantly, gives working people the support they need to be there when their families need them most.

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