When we opened Farmer’s Daughter my first daughter was just 4 weeks old and my second daughter was born a few years ago, and I was unable to take any paid leave. My husband was only able to take a long weekend off to help, which was difficult!
A recent employee had a back injury and even after many attempts to have him rest at home, he couldn’t lose the hours and stayed at work. If we could afford to or have had help with sick leave or paid leave, he could heal better. Also, most of our employees have Medicaid, which doesn’t cover all of their medical costs or needs.
We want to feel competitive with larger businesses in the benefits we can offer. As a micro business, any benefits come directly out of our pocket. Recruitment and retention is a struggle. We’ve had employees leave for better benefits and higher pay from corporations. Retention of those skilled employees matters a lot to my business. I want our employees to feel taken care of, and not be afraid to take time off and lose wages. Butchering is a labor-intensive skill.
More paid leave support would also help WV’s economy, in fact the investments in the care economy, paid leave and child care outlined by the Build Back Better American Families Plan would mean new jobs in West Virginia, and increase care wages-meaning more spending at small businesses like mine.
Having support with providing our employees with paid leave would extend the life of our work force and better their spirits.