Welcome to the Small Business Rundown. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.
Today we head to Washington State, a place known for Red Delicious apples, the Space Needle … and pioneering Paid Family Leave? Apparently so. While we’re there, we’ll check out Seattle’s pilot program to support tiny business in hard times.
Washington state implements new family leave law
Washington State passed a new law that took effect on January 1, granting between 12 and 18 weeks of paid leave for employees going through a major life event. Eligible employees can receive 90% of their pay or up to $1,000 per week. Federal government employees are not eligible, however.
The Number: 820. The new law applies to workers who have worked at least 820 hours in a year.
The Quote: “This policy is literally about life and death. It’s about being able to be there when a new baby arrives or when you adopt a baby or when you have a foster child come into your home, or to be there when you have an absolutely critical health emergency in your own life or with your spouse or close family member.”
Speaking of leave …
Turns out that paid family leave is a good thing for employers who want to cut down on employee turnover. According to new research by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, states with paid parental leave see a significantly lower rate of employee turnover among women who’ve given birth. The research indicates that these policies most benefit women with higher levels of education, however.
The Number: 20%. In states with paid family leave policies, 20% fewer women leave their job within the first year after giving birth.
The Quote: “Employers may grapple with a long list of state and municipal workplace mandates, but the popularity of benefits like paid family leave and flexible work schedules can bolster their competition for talent in a tight labor market and lower costly turnover among dissatisfied workers.”
Seattle starts small business stabilization pilot program
Unexpected events are an expected part of life, but for some of the smallest businesses, they can be a death knell. Theft, fire, natural disasters can cause catastrophic problems for companies who operate on narrow margins. So the city of Seattle decided to create a pilot program that awards $25,000 grants to microbusinesses in danger of closing due to unforeseen circumstances. Among the first round of recipients are a taco truck, a daycare, a hair salon, a funeral home and restaurants.
The Number: 5. In order to qualify for a grant, a company must have 5 employees or fewer and have suffered a “destabilizing event.”
The Quote: “This is going to help her get back on her feet so that she can stay here.”