I am the owner of Arciuolo’s Shoes and Footstar Orthotics in Milford, Connecticut. We’re a small, family-owned business founded by my great grandfather in 1921. We specialize in comfortable, everyday footwear for men, women and kids. We have 6 employees, all of whom have worked here for over 6 years. We have little, if any employee turnover and the people I work with are treated like family, because, well, they are family.

I believe that sickness shouldn’t result in financial ruin. Just because someone is unfortunate enough to be injured on the job or fall ill, doesn’t mean that they should be cast aside when they need help the most.

Recently, one of our employees had to take six months off because of an injured disc in her back that required numerous surgical procedures and prevented her from working an 8 hour shift. Working in a shoe store doesn’t seem physical, but you’re constantly moving getting up and down, standing and sitting. It got to a point where she wouldn’t have been able to continue working. We made sure she knew that she’d be financially secure so she could focus on what really mattered, her health. It was a relief to her and her family to be able to take care of her needs without looming financial worry.

Another employee also recently missed an entire month of work because of a double chest infection, and we compensated him for lost time. We never gave it a second thought – if somebody faces something difficult, an illness, or a tragedy, we do our best to take care of that person until they are back on their feet.

Needless to say, because of this belief, our employee morale is incredibly high. We don’t have a maximum on paid family and medical leave: it is just considered another business expenditure, and though it seems like a liability on paper, the benefits are numerous and invaluable. Guaranteed paid family and medical leave develops company loyalty, and the result is a friendly, knowledgeable staff that cares about the business as much as we do. That aside, providing employees paid family and medical leave is simply the right thing to do. If you fell ill, the last thing you’d want to worry about is your finances. My family wouldn’t hesitate to take care of me, so we don’t hesitate to help our Arciuolo’s family.

Matt Arciuolo