Nearly 90% of small business owners vigorously back a national paid leave program, a new survey by the Main Street Alliance shows. They also favor a major federal increase for childcare support.
Those are among the top findings the small business advocacy organization just announced from its last pop member survey. President Joe Biden this year reportedly added a paid leave proposal in his American Families Plan. Yet aid for such legislation has not been approved by Congress so far.
The fresh Main Street Alliance survey came from 15 industries across 24 states. More than 120 small business owners shared their challenges with the lack of a comprehensive, national paid leave program and affordable childcare, along with priorities for investment in upcoming recovery packages.
Some 89% of small business owners support a national paid leave program that provides up to 12 weeks of paid leave for employees to care for themselves or a loved one for birth or adoption of a child or a serious medical condition. And 90% support investments in childcare, and that figure rose to 93% when tied to a statement stating the program would be paid for “by a tax increase on the wealthy and large corporations so they pay their fair share.”
Entrepreneurs reported that paid leave and childcare are critically needed investments in the care economy.
Some 88% of those surveyed said they faced one or more business challenges due to a lack of affordable childcare and a paid leave program covering small businesses. Some 48% cited competition with larger corporations for recruitment as the biggest challenge, followed by 45% for employee morale and stress, and 36% with hiring or retaining workers.
Another survey discovery was care infrastructure—which essentially consists of policies, resources, and needed services to help U.S families meet caregiving needs—is a priority for recovery and investment.
When faced with the reality of the number of women leaving the workforce this year and questioned on what policies would most support hiring and retaining women workers, 89% supported investments in childcare while 74% backed a paid leave program.
Sixty-seven percent of respondents reported investment in care infrastructure was equally as or “more” important than investment in traditional infrastructure to support their businesses. For those who picked just one area, investments in care infrastructure were identified as most critical to helping restart and drive income to the business, coming in at 81% for care infrastructure compared to 19% for traditional infrastructure.
Small business owners from different parts of the country and the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chair, Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.-D), talked about the topics here.
More details and findings from the survey can be seen here.