Seventy-one Percent of CO Businesses Support Paid Family Leave

Good Business Colorado released a February 2019 poll showing that more than seven in 10 small business owners favor a state paid family and medical leave program.

The poll clearly shows the vast majority of Colorado small business owners favor a paid family and medical leave insurance program because they know it’s good for business,” said Debra Brown, Good Business Colorado executive director and co-founder of social enterprise MobileUs. “Employers need workers to be focused, productive and ready to help build their business, not worried, stressed and distracted by family and financial difficulties.”

Conducted by Myers Research, the poll surveyed 300 Colorado small businesses, finding:

  • Seventy-one percent of the small business owners approve a paid family and medical leave insurance program.

  • Seventy-seven percent agreed they would want to provide it as part of the benefits they offer, cutting across party lines with 78 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of Independents and 75 of Democrats agreeing.

  • Seventy percent reported that having an employee take off two weeks or more has had a positive or no effect on their business.

“FAMLI’s cost for small business owners is quite small and yet they’ll get big returns in employee productivity,” said Katharine Knarreborg, owner of Merlin Instrument Company and member of Good Business Colorado. “It’s expensive and difficult for small businesses to recruit, train and retain a new employee, so an affordable way for workers to both take care of family responsibilities and remain on staff is a best case scenario. The FAMLI Act is a win-win for employers and employees alike.”

The poll showed that almost seven in 10 small business owners say that replacing an employee is a financial burden due to the costs of retraining a new employee, indicating that they would rather retain the employees they have after a period of paid leave than be forced to go through the hiring and retraining process.

“Last year I lost a great employee when she needed hip replacement surgery and couldn’t afford to take time off without a paycheck – she moved in with her family back in Alabama to stay afloat financially,” said Sharon Hwang, owner of The Wellness Center and a member of Good Business Colorado. “With FAMLI, I’ll be able to pay into a collective family leave fund at a fraction of the cost of what I would pay if that employee took 3 months off, so I can retain valuable, trained workers.”

Funded by split employee-employer contributions between 0.3 and 0.6 percent of wages, workers will be able to use leave for caring for an ill parent, child, spouse or other close family member, to welcome a new baby into their home or for their own serious illness and will receive 50 to 90 percent of wage replacement (on a sliding scale). The program will be administered by the Colorado Department of Labor and it will be easy for employees and employers alike to access the program.

With more than 130 business owner members, Good Business Colorado is a nonpartisan business voice for a strong, thriving and sustainable Colorado.

jordan pryczynski