Government-Mandated Paid Medical Leave?

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On Monday the President hosted a Summit on Working Families, arguing that the business community is squeezing its workers and is not smart enough to adopt progressive policies without government mandates. One of the prominent issues is paid medical leave. “Many women can’t even get a paid day off to give birth—now that’s a pretty low bar…That, we should be able to take care of.”

I vigorously appose the President on this issue, which makes me “anti-family” to some. I’m all for family leave; I just don’t think others should be required to pay for it.

Life is difficult and people need time off for lots of reasons. A newborn is certainly one of them. But if companies are required to pay someone who is not working, then that cost must be paid for somewhere else. They could pay everyone less to begin with, cut other benefits, or just raise prices. Regardless, there is no free lunch. The companies are paying for it, so they should be free to create the set of benefits appropriate for their own industries and workers without government intrusion.

The President claims that paid maternity leave, increased job flexibility, and on-site child care help companies attract and retain the best workers, and ultimately outperform their competitors. This is partially true, but misleading. While there is research suggesting that many companies adopting such programs perform well financially, it depends on the type of company, its workforce, its strategy, and its operating environment. Smart companies consider offering extra benefits to get an competitive edge. One size does not fit all, however, which is precisely why some offer such benefits and others do not.

If businesses can benefit financially by offering paid leave, flex time, and on-site child care, they will do so without a summit or prodding from the President.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Larry  •  Jun 28, 2014 @5:25 PM

    Nothing more than a political stunt. Barack has no business telling companies what to do.

  2. JB  •  Jun 28, 2014 @8:31 PM

    Obama’s summits are only photo ops. Every benefit that a worker gets but be paid for somewhere, usually lower wages. I’m a manager at a mid-size manufacturing company and I think Parnell is right. These benefits might be good ideas for some companies but let them decide. They don’t need any help from Obama.

  3. cherry  •  Jun 29, 2014 @8:22 AM

    Most companies aren’t willing to invest in their employees. The US is the only developed nation in the world without paid maternity leave. Working moms are more loyal to their companies who provide this benefit. Companies need to be pushed to do the right thing and it will be better for them anyway

  4. HECTOR  •  Jul 1, 2014 @6:42 PM

    Wrong cherry. Companies invest when they get a return. SOMETIMES it’s worth it to give employees paid leave. SOMETIMES it’s not. Companies need to be left alone for a change. The more benefits they are required to offer, the fewer people they will hire.

  5. Velvet Hammer  •  Jul 2, 2014 @1:24 PM

    When did the law require employers to provide healthcare benefits??

    Why does the federal government forbid buying medical insurance across state lines??

    Answer to both – Control of the masses

    Answer to the Fed issue – Overthrow them. The freedom loving producers will only take so much. Their self-serving policies will eventually lead to their own demise. No not literally…relax.

  6. Aliza  •  Jul 5, 2014 @5:15 PM

    The government should pay for that through our taxes.