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April 7 2016

A Burdensome Benefit, San Francisco-Style

One News Now
featuring Carrie L. Lukas

A new mandate in San Francisco proves that what some call a benefit, others consider a burden.

Following a unanimous vote by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, employers in the city are now required to offer six weeks of fully paid leave for new parents. 

"It is better for everyone involved when parents have the ability to take time with a new child, not to have to rush back to work," said San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener in an interview with The Associated Press.

"I think it sounds very costly," Carrie Lukas, of the Independent Women's Forum, tells OneNewsNow. " "And, unfortunately, the people who end up paying the biggest price are workers themselves, particularly lower-income workers who tend to lack benefits."

"I'm sure the people who are championing this idea hope to benefit and help those people," Lukas explains, "but actually, by raising employment costs, this may lead to fewer job opportunities and lower take home pay."

Even so, individuals, think tanks and special interests argue the paid leave is vital to families' economic security, not just in San Francisco but the entire country. They also argue that many countries offer such benefits, including European countries.

"People point to Europe as kind of the mecca of family leave benefits," says Lukas, when in fact studies show women's income drops and their job opportunities do, too.

"And particularly they're less likely to reach leadership positions," she adds, "and a lot of that is because of the generous family leave proposals that they offer."

Earlier this week, New York passed a law requiring up to 12 weeks of partially paid time off for new parents. That law will be funded through a weekly payroll tax.

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Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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