Welcome to the Small Business Rundown. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.
Hard to believe that we’re already 1/12th of the way through 2020. Let’s close out January by looking at how the expansion of paid family leave is still leaving some of the most vulnerable women behind, the complicated issue of “discriminating” against smokers, and what Brexit will mean for U.S. small businesses. Cheerio!
Expansion of paid family leave benefits still leaving women behind
Despite the progress toward making paid family leave a more universal benefit, data indicates that wide swaths of women still don’t have access to time off when they need it. The expansion of benefits has largely taken place in competitive industries where companies vie for top talent, while women in healthcare and teaching or leisure and hospitality, for example, must work or go without pay.
The Number: 80%. Despite the recent “boomlet” and expansion of family leave benefits, 80% of working Americans don’t get time off to care for their newborn.
The Quote: “The continued expansion is primarily contained to white-collar jobs and leaves behind millions of working people.”
The complicated question of refusing to hire smokers
Recently we reported that U-Haul made history when they enacted a policy stating they would no longer hire employees who use nicotine. The City of Dayton has adopted a similar policy and, in states where it’s legal, other companies are following suit. Yet, when does an employer’s right to “discriminate” trump an adult’s right to engage in legal behavior? It’s a complicated question that gets to the heart of the country’s complicated past (and future) relationship with employer-sponsored healthcare.
The Number: $6,000. Studies indicate that employees who smoke cost employers an additional $6,000 per year in both direct medical care and lost productivity.
The Quote: “Therefore, to solve the problem of hiring discrimination based on habits such as smoking, one key reform will be to eliminate the tax disparity between employer-provided health insurance and individually-purchased health insurance.”
Brexit’s impact crosses the pond to affect U.S. small businesses
After months and months of negotiations and referendums, the UK is finally leaving the EU. So, what will Brexit mean for U.S. small businesses? Apparently, in the short term, it should be business as usual, but U.S. SMBs should be prepared for possible shipping delays and customs complications. The value of the pound will most likely fall in favor of the dollar, though, and new trade agreements will need to be negotiated.
The Number: 52%. During the initial vote, 52% of UK voters voted in favor of Brexit.
The Quote: “This is the first trade deal the U.K. has negotiated in 40 years. The U.K. will be negotiating with experienced hard-nosed U.S. trade officials, who will drive a hard bargain and seek to pry open U.K. markets.”