SAN DIEGO–Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep Rosa DeLauro reintroduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which creates a universal, gender-neutral paid family and medical leave program.
Members of Main Street Alliance of San Diego, part of a national network of small business coalitions working to build a new voice for small businesses on important public policy issues, say the FAMILY Act is critical to the health of San Diego’s small business-based economy.
“Passing the FAMILY Act would create a national standard that allows a boutique business like mine to attract a high-level, diverse workforce, without worrying that the first long-term medical issue they face means losing my ability to retain them,” says Indra Gardiner Bowers, Founder and CEO of i.d.e.a., a Main Street Alliance of San Diego member business. “This is the type of legislation that allows small businesses to be competitive and thrive as the backbone of America’s economy.”
Less than 1 percent of the San Diego region’s companies have more than 250 workers. Keeping San Diego’s small businesses competitive keeps San Diego’s economy growing, according to Alliance members. In a 2016 survey conducted by Main Street Alliance of more than 1,500 small businesses, 64% of business owners supported passing a federal paid family and medical leave bill, but 84% could not offer paid leave. If passed, the FAMILY Act will provide small businesses a simple, affordable insurance system that covers extended leave for both themselves and their employees.
“As an employee in the past, I was lucky to qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allowed me time away from work while undergoing treatment for breast cancer,” says Lindsay Tiers, owner of Sweet DIYGs, a Main Street Alliance of San Diego business. “As a business owner today, I want to make sure that myself and my employees know they can always make the same decision. No work-able professional in the US should have to choose between good health and keeping a job.”
Main Street Alliance says the United States has the worst family leave policy in the industrialized world. The FAMILY Act comes at a time when the need for a national paid family and medical leave policy is at a tipping point and gaining bipartisan support.