Friday, June 5, 2009

Family Values

Yesterday, the House passed four-week paid maternity leave for federal employees. As usual, the party of family values voted overwhelmingly against the measure.


Anonymous said...

Why should the government require businesses to pay maternity leave? This a benefit most companies currently offer to attract top employees.

Jim said...

I understand the idea behind your point, but...

This bill is actually not requiring companies to provide paid maternity leave. It is requiring the federal government to do so. If it's true that most companies are offering maternity leave as a benefit, the government needs to as well to attract top talent right?

Now, you could argue that this is the first step in requiring companies to do the same thing. I think that is right. And I certainly don't see the problem with it.

The idea that "most companies offer paid maternity leave seems a bit of a stretch. A report by the Senate Joint Economic Committee fromm last year says of Fortune 100 companies, about 3/4 offer some sort of paid leave for women. The median is 6 weeks. That is not much maternity leave. And still 1/4 of Fortune 100 companies don't do it. And that is Fortune 100 companies only. The report states that the Fortune 100 are better than the average U.S. company on those terms. I honestly can't find the number of employees overall who have access to paid maternity leave, but I would be willing to wager it is less than half.

Most importantly, who cares whether companies get to use it as a benefit to attract employees. Who is more important in the U.S., companies or families? If the answer is families, paid time off should be a requirement and a right that every family has. If the answer is companies, then I guess we can leave it the way it is.

Anonymous said...

If the federal government pays this benefit, at what level? (a person's current salary? Is there a cap? What if this individual is a top executive and make 7 or 8 figures?) What about maternity leave for fathers, adoptive parents?

I just think once you open the door on requiring the federal government to pay for maternity leave, there will be several other causes/leave of absence that will want this benefit as well. I am not saying I am not for paid maternity leave, I just think it should be up to the individual businesses to offer. The ones that do are certainly recognized for it in such magazines as Working Mother Magazine. Perhaps instead of the government paying for it, companies could utilize this benefit as a tax ride-off as a incentive to get more businesses to participate.

Finally and most importantly, how do we pay for this? We can't continue to just print money forever. We have already raised treasury yields to an all time high. It will not be to much longer at this rate before countries such as China call in their loans and stop investing in US altogether.


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