PPSI Convenes Business Leader Roundtable with Bipartisan U.S. House Working Group on Paid Leave

WASHINGTON, D.C.—On May 11, 2023, Public Private Strategies Institute facilitated a roundtable discussion with the members of the Bipartisan U.S. House Working Group on Paid Leave and business leaders from across 10 major business organizations.

The discussion focused on the opportunities and challenges for the small business community that are presented by a federal paid family and medical leave program and possible paths forward for small business owners and the self-employed.

Business leaders were in dialogue with members of the bipartisan U.S. House Working Group on Paid Leave, including Representative Colin Allred (D-TX), Representative Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Representative Julia Letlow (R-LA), and Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA).

The Washington Post highlighted the event, noting the optimism and progress made among the bipartisan group.

Washington Post: A big day in Washington for paid leave

  • Paid leave is having a moment.
  • The House bipartisan paid family leave working group is hosting another monthly meeting this morning, building on the momentum of previous meetings as the group continues to work toward a bipartisan agreement.
  • The bipartisan working group, led by Reps. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) and Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.), will focus on the business perspective and will hear from leaders of Etsy, Pinterest, the National Association for the Self-Employed, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and the National Association of Women Business Owners about the benefits and challenges of paid leave.
  • Read the full story here.

Following the event on May 11, business leaders shared their perspective and takeaways from the discussion on the future of federal paid leave policy. 

Megan Patton, Board of Directors Member, National Association of Women Business Owners & Managing Partner, ODA Strategy:

“It was a pleasure being a part of the House Working Group on Paid Leave’s roundtable discussion. From a moral standpoint, our women business owners want to provide paid leave to their employees, but we know that the cost and a lack of replacement workers can impede putting a formal paid leave program in place. We hope the Working Group continues to look for the proper baseline, so we can keep our small business owners thriving.”

Ramiro Cavazos, President & CEO, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC):

“The Hispanic business community is key to growing our American economy — we are honored to be a part of this important bipartisan roundtable discussion with the House Working Group members to voice the needs of all Hispanic businesses. The need for attracting a more diverse and skilled workforce grows daily and efforts to address programs like paid family and medical leave at the federal level will only benefit all small and minority-owned businesses. The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce welcomes the opportunity to continue to engage with this group of legislators as they continue to develop solutions for paid leave policies.”

Eddie Monroy, Executive Director, NextGen Chamber of Commerce:

“Direct engagement with working group House Members was critical in ensuring the business perspective of next generation leadership is heard.

“The workforce and hiring continue to be a top issue for the small business ecosystem. In order to be competitive we need solutions such as paid leave to help small entrepreneurs compete. A recent survey from the NextGen Chamber of Commerce and Capital One showed that a significant number of start-ups – a combined 55%, were born out of necessity during the pandemic, driven by childcare and adult caregiving demands.

“The work of this bipartisan group of legislators is an important step in the right direction to helping small businesses remain competitive in the marketplace and to compete for top talent.” 

Chiling Tong, President & CEO National ACE:

“It was an honor to be invited to participate in an engaging dialogue with members of the Bipartisan House Paid Leave Working Group alongside many of our partners in the diverse small business community. Paid leave is an important issue for AAPI business owners, who often come from multigenerational households with caregiving responsibilities. There is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach for a paid leave framework that meets the needs of all small business owners, so we deeply appreciate the Working Group’s commitment to learning and hearing from the small business community about what works, and what doesn’t work in terms of paid leave.

“National ACE looks forward to continuing our engagement with members of the Working Group, as well as our partners to explore solutions that work for AAPI small businesses, and for all small businesses.”

Katie Vlietstra Wonneberg, Secretary, Public Private Strategies Institute:

“Public Private Strategies Institute is proud to be able to bring together the public and private sectors for this important bipartisan dialogue on the future of paid leave.

“Small and medium sized businesses face significant challenges in the paid leave space. As bipartisan discussions on paid family and medical leave policies continue at the federal level, in-person and direct engagement from business leaders is critical to shaping good policy development and outcomes.”

The full list of business leaders and organizations participating in the event included:

  • Talisha Bekavac,  Executive Vice President, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC)
  • Ramiro Cavazos, President & CEO, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)
  • Todd McCracken, President & CEO, National Small Business Association (NSBA)
  • Eddie Monroy, Executive Director, NextGen Chamber of Commerce
  • Elle Patout, National Director of Advocacy and Public Relations, National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)
  • Megan Patton, Board of Directors Member, NAWBO & Managing Partner, ODA Strategy
  • Adrienne Schweer, Head of the Paid Family Leave Task Force, Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC)
  • Chiling Tong, Chief Executive Officer & President, National ACE
  • Katie Vlietstra Wonneberg, Principal, Public Private Strategies and Secretary, Public Private Strategies Institute 

Jeff Zubricki, Head of Etsy Americas Advocacy, and Public Policy

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