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January 15 2015

Statement: President Obama's Paid Leave Push Isn't A Magic Cure All

Victoria Coley

PAID LEAVE MANDATE ISN’T A MAGIC CURE-ALL
Mandates That Make Hiring More Expensive And Employment Contracts More Rigid Are Bad For Women And Families

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today President Obama is expected to advance his plan for paid leave for federal workers, by calling on Congress to adopt the Healthy Families Act and asking states and cities to pass similar laws. The Administration is calling this a “family issue” not a “partisan issue” that would improve worker productivity and bring more competitiveness to the U.S. workforce.

Independent Women’s Forum executive director Sabrina Schaeffer releases the following statement:

“While we recognize that all Americans – men and women – need to be able to take time off from work to address personal matters – care for children, aging parents or manage other life challenges – President Obama’s push for the Healthy Families Act is yet another 'one-size-fits-all' mandate that would hurt more Americans than it would help, especially women.

“While a guaranteed leave benefit may sound nice, we ought to consider the costs and unintended consequences that come with government-mandated leave policies. It’s important to acknowledge that the majority of private sector businesses already provide workers with paid leave. In fact, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics three quarters of all workers have paid vacation benefits and forty-one percent have paid personal leave – a far cry from the crisis the White House is suggesting we have.

 “Under the Healthy Families Act companies that don’t provide leave will face new costs that they may not be able to absorb without eating into workers take-home pay, reducing overall leave time, and increasing prices for consumers.

“As with ObamaCare’s employer mandate, companies will have an incentive to keep their workforce small (particularly when small businesses are exempt from the mandate) and consolidate or outsource jobs while adding to our current unemployment problem. It will discourage companies from considering flexible work-from-home and part-time arrangements, which are often the best solution for both worker and employer when people need leave.”

Carrie Lukas, Independent Women’s Forum managing director, added:

“While we applaud the federal government for recognizing the need of their employees for paid leave benefits, we hope they also recognize that not all businesses or employers have the same deep pockets that the government does thanks to hard-working American taxpayers. There are trade-offs between benefits and take-home pay and we have to allow workers and employers to find situations that benefit both parties.  

“What’s more, the Healthy Families Act – which requires that one must have worked for pay for 20 or more workweeks a years to earn leave benefits – won’t actually help families lacking consistent full-time employment. The Census Bureau found that 74 percent of households with children under the poverty line were home to no full-time work. IWF understands that there are times when workers need to take time away from work. But rather than dictate a one-size-fits-all leave policy for all workers, policymakers ought to focus their efforts on direct relief targeted at assisting those who truly face hardships created by lack of paid leave. An initiative modeled on the Earned Income Tax Credit, for example, could help low–income workers following the birth of a child or who face significant illnesses that require extended leave. This targeted program could help those most in need without discouraging economic incentives for hiring workers and flexibility for workers and employers to negotiate mutually beneficial work packages.”

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Independent Women's Forum works to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free-markets and personal liberty. 

MEDIA CONTACT
Victoria R Coley
Director of Communications
Independent Women's Forum | www.iwf.org
443.758.6077 | victoria.coley@iwf.org

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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