Small business owners encouraged by paid family leave legislation hearing

Family leave
Updated: Jul. 12, 2018 at 9:19 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A push to expand paid family leave in Washington, while a long way off is closer to becoming reality.

Senator Bill Cassidy chaired a hearing where both parties want to make paid family leave available for more Americans, they just haven't agreed on how.

You can find all sorts of smiles in a toy shop. Magic Box Toys owner, Alison Todd says that includes her own children.

"They think it's their home they come in pull everything off the shelves and play with it like it's their house," said Todd.

Before Todd and her husband bought the shop, she says she knows what it feels like to have no paid leave time and feeling rushed to get back to work.

"A lot of guilt feeling they needed me home when I couldn't be there. Once I was at work it was easier but leaving is still hard. Leaving them is the hardest part," said Todd.

Now that she's the boss, Todd wants to try and make it so her employees don't feel the same thing.

"One of our employees is having a baby in December we're very excited for her she's very excited and we would love to support her in whatever way we could," she said.

Senator Bill Cassidy says the conversation's just beginning, but there's bipartisan support for paid family leave.

He says there are two plans on the table. The Republican plan where new mothers could borrow from their social security comes with a $4.5 billion price tag. And the $90 billion Democrat plan pushes for a payroll tax which would cover any family paid time off, not just maternity leave.

"We're going to have to see if there's a middle ground between these two proposals. The very fact we're talking about it is positive. If we can do something good for working families so mothers don't have to drop out of the work force, and when returning start at the position which is good for business because work doesn't have to retrain someone," said Cassidy.

Cassidy says they're not even to the point of being able to estimate when the two camps could come to an agreement on a proposal.

But Todd knows there's going to be a new baby in the Magic Box Toy shop soon, and hopes they can figure something out.

"You want to give your employees a great salary because they work hard for you and they do a good job and also you're looking at your bottom line every day and how your sales are," said Todd.

Cassidy said for small businesses, it is a challenge when they have a set number of employees.

He says that's yet another issue that's part of the conversation.

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