Small Businesses Support Paid Family Leave Expansion

Last updated: June 07, 2024

Small Businesses Support Expanding Paid Family Leave 

Dear Speaker Shekarchi, Majority Leader Blazejewski, Minority Leader Chippendale, and Chairman Corvese: 

As small business owners in Rhode Island, we are writing to express our strong support for H-7171 and S-2121, which would expand Rhode Island's Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI), our state’s Paid Family Leave program. As entrepreneurs, we understand the challenges that come with running a small business. Balancing the needs of our businesses with the needs of our employees can be difficult, especially when it comes to caregiving responsibilities. Unlike large companies, our businesses don’t have the budget to offer paid family leave to employees. The solution to ensuring we can stay in business while our workforce remains healthy is a statewide paid leave program that allows us to be competitive with our neighboring states, Massachusetts and Connecticut. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it is also a smart business decision.  

Expanding TCI, as proposed by H-7171 (Rep. Giraldo) and S-2121 (Whip Lawson), would: 

  • Increase the maximum benefit weeks from 6 to 12 weeks. 
  • Allow siblings, grandchildren, and designated care recipients to be eligible for TCI. 
  • Increase the weekly dependent’s allowance from $10 to $20 or 7% of the individual’s benefit rate, whichever is greater. 

Paid family leave allows our employees to take time off to care for a newborn or seriously ill family member without worrying about losing their jobs and while maintaining their financial security. This contributes to a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce, which ultimately benefits our businesses and communities. Studies have shown that small businesses realize an increase in profits and revenues per employee when a robust statewide paid leave program exists. Data affirms that paid family leave leads to better outcomes for children and families, reduces turnover costs for businesses, and strengthens the overall economy.  All these benefits come at zero added costs to employers because workers' pay for the TCI program from payroll deductions. Neither the state nor employers pay for TCI.  

Since TCI is administered by the Department of Labor and Training and fully funded by workers' payroll taxes, it relieves small businesses from the administrative and financial burden of providing such benefits. Additionally, since employers are not responsible for paying employees while they are on paid family leave, there is extra money available to hire temporary help or reinvest in the business. 

Rhode Island was once a leader in providing paid family leave to workers, but the program has not evolved to meet workforce and small business needs. Expanding the state's paid family leave program will level the playing field for small businesses like ours. Many larger corporations already offer paid family leave as part of their benefits packages, giving them a competitive edge in attracting and retaining talent. Small businesses in Rhode Island also must remain competitive with those in Massachusetts and Connecticut, both of which provide more comprehensive paid family leave benefits at 12 weeks of leave and higher benefit rates. By expanding access to paid family leave, small businesses will be able to better compete to retain and recruit top talent in the job market. Rhode Island shouldn’t force entrepreneurs to take their great ideas across state lines because they can’t get equivalent benefits and support in Rhode Island. 

We urge you to support the proposed expansions to the state's paid family leave program. By doing so, you will not only support working families, but also help small businesses thrive. 

Thank you for your attention to this important issue. 

All Season Fashion, Central Falls 

Biomass Controls PBC 

Boxed in Black, Cranston 

Cannabis Policy Coalition, Statewide  

CRAVEInfused, Pawtucket 

CT Renovation & Design LLC, Woonsocket 

Eastside Early Learning Center, Providence 

Gayle Hanrahan Coaching LLC, Middletown 

Geri's Bluffing Boutique, Woonsocket 

La Castellana Bakery, Providence 

Lopes Liquors, Providence 

Mi Pueblo Alfa, Central Falls 

MOCCA, Pawtucket 

Peace of Mind Nannies, East Providence 

Rossell's Beauty Salon, Central Falls 

Veasna Chhay Insurance Agency, Providence 

Ward's Manufacturing LLC, Warren  



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