Today’s News: Corporate Transparency, Corporate Responsibility, and Paid Family Leave

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Today we head to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, where lawmakers are voting on legislation that may have big consequences for small businesses. While we’re there, we might as well check in on the conversation this country is having about paid family leave — before heading up to Cambridge to see what the HBR has to say about small businesses and corporate responsibility.

Congressional approval of Corporate Transparency Act could mean bigger burden on SMBs

The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on the Corporate Transparency Act today, legislation aimed at exposing the true owners of shell corporations to law enforcement officials. Many SMBs (80% of the membership of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, in face) are opposed to the proposed law, however. Critics cite concerns about the increased and costly burden of compliance placed on small businesses as well as decreased privacy.

The Number: 3. Businesses that fail to comply with the law, or even make a mistake, could face up to 3 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

The Quote: “Millions of Main Street job creators shouldn’t have to worry about higher compliance costs or loss of privacy. They should not have to prove to the government that they aren’t drug dealers or terrorists, nor should they go to jail or pay huge fines because they failed to fill out a form.”

SBO engagement critical to the success of [some form of] paid family leave

With the 2020 presidential election just over a year away (insert emoji face of your choice), the issue of paid family leave continues to be a priority for many of the candidates for the Democratic nomination — and for the husband of Serena Williams. It’s also a priority — in some form — for many small business owners, who believe that a federally-subsidized social insurance program is good for both employees AND good for business.

The Number: 7. Small business owners understand the importance of this issue, with 7 out of 10 SBOs supporting some form of paid family leave. 

The Quote: This conversation, however, needs to be informed by the actual experiences and opinions of the employers themselves. The reality is that paid leave programs enable small employers to offer this critical benefit without having to shoulder the entire cost”

Small companies get in on the “Corporate Responsibility” game

While the terms “small business” and “corporate responsibility” might seem at odds upon first glance, SBOs don’t have to cede the ground to Fortune 500 leaders when it comes to taking meaningful action on social issues. Consumers are increasingly voting with their wallets for brands that take a stand, and small businesses are uniquely positioned to find issues that directly impact their local community.

The Number: 72%. A recent survey found that 72% of American actually believe that small businesses can make a bigger impact on their community than larger corporations. 

The Quote: “Small businesses’ CSR and community engagement efforts may never receive the splashy coverage that large corporate donations garner, but they play an instrumental role in the success of communities and, from their local vantage point, have an ability to impact their cities and towns in ways that go beyond just jobs or service creation.”

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