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Small business owners are in dire need of a social infrastructure that supports economic advancement, and we must make it easier for them to start and run their businesses. This is what I brought up recently in a conversation with Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.

That begins with a national, comprehensive paid leave policy that would allow these entrepreneurs and business owners to more effectively compete with larger corporations. Businesses with paid family and medical leave policies have happier and healthier employees, which increases productivity, profitability and performance. And owners like me shouldn’t be left out when we need time to care, like when I had my daughter in 2019. And when small businesses do well, so do our communities. States like New Jersey and Rhode Island that have enacted paid leave programs have already seen the economic benefits.

The pandemic has demonstrated why all workers deserve paid time off to care for themselves or their loved ones. No one should have to choose between putting food on the table and helping an ill child get better. But without federal support, small businesses, like mine, can’t offer the full range of benefits our employees deserve. 

We must do more than just celebrate our entrepreneurs – we have to fight for them. Policymakers in Washington can take a major step in that direction by enacting comprehensive paid family and medical leave.