Senator Murray Speaks to Representatives of 500+ Small Business Owners Urging Congress to Pass Paid Leave
***WATCH THE ROUNDTABLE HERE***
(Washington, DC) - This afternoon, Senator Patty Murray, Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), spoke with small business owners representing over 530 small business owners nationwide who have called on Congress to prioritize the urgent call for a comprehensive federal paid family and medical leave program.
In letters to congressional leaders, 536 small business owners from the Paid Leave for the U.S. (PL+US) and Main Street Alliance/Small Business for Paid Leave coalition highlighted how the passage of a comprehensive paid leave program would help them build their businesses, support working families, and power long-term economic growth.
The event today gave Senator Murray, who is longtime champion of paid leave for all, a chance to speak with a cross-section of small business owners from Washington State and across the country about the positive impact a federal paid leave program would have on the small business community.
“Paid leave isn’t just good for workers—it’s also good for our small business and good for our economy,” said Senator Murray. “By passing a national paid family and medical leave program, we can even the playing field for small businesses and ensure they can offer their employees the paid leave everyone deserves. We’ve got an historic opportunity right now to pass paid leave and after years of fighting, I am determined to get this done and to build back an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.”
"National paid family leave is critical for working families, and it's needed for businesses like my own and the ones we serve," said Brea Starmer, Founder of the Seattle-based business consulting firm Lions+Tigers. "As an entrepreneur and mother of three, I know how hard it is to stay in the workforce while balancing work and childcare. A national paid leave program will level the playing field between small and large businesses to retain talented employees, especially women, who need time to care for themselves and their family."
“We’ve seen all too clearly how a business can be booming one day and closing their doors the next. And we’ve seen the toll on our economy when we don’t have a plan for absences from our work and our businesses. Let’s not waste another moment without a plan.” said Main Street Alliance member Natasha Crosby, President of the Richmond LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce. “For our small businesses, our employees and the communities that we serve, let pass a strong, universal and affordable paid family and medical leave plan now.”
“As a small business owner and a state legislator, I know both first-hand and from my constituents how critical a national paid leave would be to helping small businesses compete for talent with larger national firms," said Rep. Diego Espinoza, owner of Fuego Bar & Grill in Tolleson, AZ and a state legislator representing Arizona's 19 House District. "Establishing a national, comprehensive paid family leave program wouldn't just be a real win for working families, it'd be a critical boost to the small businesses that are the lifeblood of our communities and need help attracting and retaining talented and valuable employees.”
The small business owners spoke with Senator Murray on the urgent need to invest in our care infrastructure and how it would help their small businesses. They noted how programs like the paid leave and child care investments in the Build Back Better plan, including the American Families Plan, will ensure no one should have to choose between family and their paycheck. It’s time to level the playing field for small businesses and invest in our care economy, because the cost of inaction is too high. Paid leave, care and gender equity policies have the potential to help the economy grow as much as 5% by bringing women’s labor force participation rates in the United States up to those in other countries.
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