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Insurance NewsHamlar: From cradle to grave – investing in care infrastructure is critical for small businesses like mine | Columnists | #insurance | #seniors | #elderly

Hamlar: From cradle to grave – investing in care infrastructure is critical for small businesses like mine | Columnists | #insurance | #seniors | #elderly

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Hamlar_Michael_110317

Michael Hamlar


At the height of the pandemic my employees and I were working 20-hour days. Unlike many small businesses struggling to stay open, we were running on all cylinders. We run a family business—a funeral home in southwestern Virginia.

But from that vantage, we saw the critical need for time to care for loved ones. And for us, paid leave to heal, was critical to keeping my staff sane and committed to the important work of guiding families through their toughest moments.

We are in the death care business and saw early on that many—no matter their age, race or occupation—were at risk of dying from COVID-19. Being on the frontlines, our staff were at a high risk of exposure and had to quarantine. We were able to use the emergency paid leave credits, which were absolutely critical to helping our business through this crisis.

Even before COVID-19, we knew the importance of time to care for families. Many times people come to us at the end of a longer journey of home care, or elderly care. The challenges and sacrifices made, especially for younger women family members, often unpaid, are very real. It is both an emotional and financial toll. We knew we couldn’t let our employees go through that if they needed time to take care of their families, they should never have to choose between time to care for someone and a paycheck.

That’s why I’m one of the thousands of small business owners speaking up for investments in our care infrastructure. In paid leave, in home care, in affordable and accessible child care. Because from cradle to grave, we know time is important. And as a small business, we know we need a federal investment to level the playing field to allow that support.

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