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Research Shows More Small Businesses Support Paid Family Leave After Implementing a Program

  • Research shows that the share of small business owners supporting paid family leave increases after a program has been in place for a few years
  • The United States does not have a national paid family leave program, though some states and private companies offer them
  • A proposal for a national program of four weeks’ paid family leave is under consideration, and Connecticut’s program will make benefits available starting next year

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Small business owners may have mixed feelings on paid family leave. It can be a much-needed benefit for employees, helping to ensure worker satisfaction and retention, but also create challenges for business owners looking to implement and fund such a program.

Yet a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows a majority of small business owners support paid family leave, with this support growing stronger after they try out the program. The poll of 539 companies with fewer than 100 employees in states that have established their own paid family leave programs found that 63 percent were in favor of the benefit before it went into effect, with the share rising to 71 percent after the program had been available for a few years.

  • The United States is one of seven nations that do not offer paid family leave, although a major social policy bill currently before Congress would provide four weeks of leave
  • Some states have also established their own programs; Connecticut’s program begins in 2022, and employees can begin filing applications for leave starting Wednesday
  • Advocates for a national paid family leave program say it would offer more consistency than the patchwork of state and private programs currently available

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