Supporting Paid Family Leave in Oregon

September 21, 2017
Sharon Soliday, CCC-SLP

Supporting paid family leave is good for kids, which is why I recently wrote this letter to our state legislature in support of a bill they're considering. Bottom line? Business leaders adapt. And they should. If you'd like more information on this important issue, please visit the good folks at Family Forward Oregon and consider joining the cause.

September 14, 2017

Someone's ability to financially make it through a challenging time shouldn't be based on whom your boss happens to be.

Chair Taylor and members of the Oregon Senate Workforce Committee,

I am the CEO and owner of Care Options for Kids, formerly The Hello Foundation, a for-profit staffing and therapeutic services company of speech and occupational therapists. I am writing today to urge you to support paid family and medical leave, as was proposed last year in HB 3087.

Hello has 72 employees, predominately women, bringing millions of dollars into the state of Oregon each year. We continue to experience rapid growth year after year.

I believe you will likely hear from some business professionals about the financial hardship paid leave would impose on them should this bill become a reality for Oregon.

Be assured, I personally understand the implication of legislative mandates on the health of companies. I am responsible for attending to the bottom line and every decision leading to that line.

But today my critical message to this committee is simple. Business adapts.

It is the primary function of good economic leadership in a company to continually adapt based on the best interest of business in relation to the bottom line.

So yes, the passage of paid family and medical leave will be asking businesses to adapt.

But businesses should then also expect to adapt to a decrease in expensive employee turnover, increased ease of competitive recruiting, and sharing the news of a more compassionate and family-friendly benefits package.

Employees do not take leave to create a hardship for their employer. They take leaves because a hardship or a new baby has become a reality for their family.

In this moment we have the opportunity to bring some peace of mind to Oregon families in a financially responsible manner.

It is good for business to care about the well-being of all Oregon children and families. It serves our business recruitment, stability, and provides an economically healthy consumer base.

No doubt all business owners and advocates you'll hear from will explain they personally already go above and beyond for their own staff in challenging times.

They adapt.

I ask this committee as the owner of a company that is predominately women, level the business playing field. Help businesses help their staff. Support healthier and more secure families for all of Oregon and consistent business practices statewide.

Please move paid family and medical leave forward. It's important to the health of Oregon companies, our potential for growth, and children and families in the state of Oregon.

Thank you.

Sharon Soliday

CEO & Owner of Care Options for Kids, formerly The Hello Foundation