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Virginia Small Business Owners Behind First-in-the Country Legislation

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which represents more than 6,000 small businesses in Virginia, applauds both the House and Senate for passing legislation that would prevent small business owners from another costly and time-consuming government mandated program.

Here in Virginia, lawmakers have been debating the role that government should play when it comes to family leave insurance and small business owners. This week, both the House and Senate passed legislation that would allow employers to voluntarily purchase private insurance family leave plans that provide income replacement to employees for the birth or adoption of a child, placement of a child for foster care, care of a family members with a serious health condition, or a family member who is in the service and on active duty or been notified of an impending call.

SB 15 amends Virginia’s insurance code to allow the Bureau of Insurance to regulate the sale of group insurance family leave plans to employers.

“This bill is unique and the first of its kind in the country. It’s a great example of how lawmakers can work across the aisle to get something done for small business owners that makes sense,” said Julia Hammond, NFIB State Director in Virginia. “The option for private insurance versus government mandated program gives our small business owners the flexibility to provide family leave insurance for their employees.”

“One of the biggest issues for our members right now is making sure that legislators pass sensible regulations. We are grateful that members on both sides of the aisle understand how hard it is for our mom and pop shops right now to keep their doors open.”

Many small businesses already offer benefits and utilize their insurance company’s benefits to attract and keep their employees. Many of our small business owners have expressed interest in utilizing this new program to expand those benefits without the burden of a mandate from the government telling them what they have to provide. Our small business owners know what’s best for their business and how to best retain their employees: this bill gives them the flexibility to operate their business the best way they see fit.

The bill is a victory in NFIB’s Small Business Recovery Plan effort, which launched at the beginning of the session. The four pillars include tax relief, sensible regulations, financial assistance, and unemployment insurance reform.

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