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Shaheen Helps Introduce Bicameral, Bipartisan Legislation to Empower Workers and Keep Profits In the United States

(Washington, DC) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a senior member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, helped introduce the Employee Equity Investment Act, which would make it easier for private companies to transfer ownership of the business to their employees. The legislation is led by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Companion legislation was also introduced in the House of Representatives. 

“Helping businesses transition to employee ownership supports local economies, maintains and creates quality jobs and helps to guarantee financial security for our workforce,” said Shaheen. “The Employee Equity Investment Act would help business owners transition to employees rather than selling and allowing those jobs to leave their communities. As a former small business owner, I know the importance of ensuring employees feel empowered and invested in their work.”

The Employee Equity Investment Act (EEIA) would utilize the SBA’s Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program to expand employee ownership. These investment funds would assist with the process of selling a company to its employees, while also working to sustain and expand existing employee-owned firms. By providing loan guarantees on a zero-subsidy basis with fees paid for by the investment funds, access to employee ownership is expanded without costing taxpayers.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shaheen went to bat for small business owners who were among the most severely impacted by the public health crisis. She worked to provide small businesses with the resources they needed to weather and recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading negotiations on provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which established the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and expanded the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, both of which were lifelines for businesses throughout New Hampshire and the country. Recently, President Biden signed into law a Shaheen-led bill to require the SBA to create a centralized website that houses compliance guides pertaining to federal regulations impacting small businesses. Previously, Senator Shaheen successfully added a provision to the fiscal year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act that would authorize a five-year pilot program incentivizing employee ownership in defense contracting. Employee stock ownership (ESOP) programs allow employees to own shares in the company and empower them within their role and at the company.