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Small Business Owner Survey Identifies Cost as Main Barrier in Offering Leave

  • Small business owners commonly offer some form of paid leave in order to attract and retain employees
  • Recent poll finds that more than one-third of small business owners cite cost as a barrier to offering paid leave
  • Nearly six in 10 support finding a solution on paid family and medical leave, with a majority favoring one involving the federal government

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Most small business owners offer their workers some form of paid leave as part of their effort to attract and retain employees, according to a recent poll. These entrepreneurs were most likely to cite cost as a barrier to offering paid leave, with nearly six in 10 saying they wanted to see a solution on paid family and medical leave.

The organization Small Business for America’s Future issued the survey to 626 small business owners in July. Sixty-five percent said they offer their employees some sort of leave, with 68 percent of that share offering paid leave. Respondents were most likely to offer paid sick leave.

Thirty-five percent cited cost as a barrier to offering paid leave, making it the most common hurdle encountered by business owners.

  • 79 percent said offering leave is crucial for attracting and retaining workers, with businesses who don’t offer leave saying it’s harder for them to hire people
  • 59 percent said they want to see a solution on paid family and medical leave; of these, 71 percent want to see a solution involving the federal government, while 37 percent prefer a public-private partnership
  • Owners of very small businesses, as well as Black and Asian American/Pacific Islander business owners, were least likely to be aware of paid leave tax credits
  • Black and Latino business owners were most likely to offer their employees leave, but less likely than their White counterparts to offer paid leave
  • Several states have established paid family and medical leave programs (including Connecticut, which is set to offer the benefits starting next year) and the Biden administration is also proposing a national program

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