Centered on Work-Family Friendly Policies: Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream Supports Comprehensive Job Quality Policies
We recently talked with Molly Moon, Founder and CEO of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream in Seattle, a small business that has always advocated for workers rights, about why it’s important for business leaders to support progressive workplace public policies. Here’s a summary of our interview with her.
CLASP: Why do you think it’s important to have public policies requiring all employers to provide paid sick days/paid family leave/fair schedules instead of leaving it up to individual employers?
Moon: I don’t think you should have to win the boss lottery in order to have a secure life. All of these policies do a lot for working people and families by giving them the security they need to live their lives and pursue happiness. The policies create a more level playing field for businesses, in particular, small businesses that compete with large businesses. It’s good for workers, businesses, and the economy.
CLASP: How do you respond to concerns from other employers about potential negative effects of these policies on their bottom line? What have those conversations been like?
Moon: Each of those conversations is really different because people have unique concerns and unique perspectives, and business owners are coming from a different place in terms of profitability. I usually try to help my business owner peers put themselves in their workers shoes and talk about the economic benefits of leveling the playing field. I advocate for policies that place more shared burden across an entire city, county, or a state—rather than putting all of the financial burden directly on business owners. I have found this is usually something we can all agree on.
CLASP: Some employers, even those who offer or support higher job quality, shy away from getting involved in public policy. Have you always been engaged in public policy? And what advice do you have for businesses that have not yet taken a stand for job quality public policy?
Moon: I have always been involved in activism. I was a political activist in high school and then spent most of my 20s as the executive director of a political non-profit that registered and engaged young voters to turn out for progressive candidates and issues. So, the activism part is sort of in my blood! My advice for other business owners is usually that there isn’t going to be public backlash when they come out in support of a pro-worker policy. And in fact, I have found that it is really good for business since my customers typically really agree with my politics and come to my shops more because they believe in what our company is doing —not just because the ice cream is delicious!
CLASP: What have been your most satisfying moments as an employer in providing these benefits?
Moon: Some of my most satisfying moments have been in the last couple of years seeing some of my employees have babies and be able to take 12 weeks off with pay to be at home and bond with their new babies. That’s been really fulfilling for me to know that I can do that. Everything we do just makes me really proud of my whole team at Molly Moon’s. The fact that everybody who works here 20 hours a week gets free health insurance and that we have this healthy, thriving team where no one is ever worried about health costs or how they’re going to get through something. We launched a matched 401K plan last year and it’s been really fun to watch people as young as 19 get excited about retirement and taking care of their financial futures—that was a surprise. The standard is that you can enroll in 401k’s when you are 21, and we actually had a couple of employees who are 19 come to us and say, “We wish we could get involved in this.” So we went to our 401k provider asked if we could “change the age.” They let us, which was just so cool and something I never expected.
To learn more about Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream click here.