The American public wants the president to make the economy a priority, as well as the poor and needy. Research shows that paid parental leave can be a tool to address both, but leaving it entirely to the private sector likely won’t achieve the type of effects that are needed. A better approach is to offer a modest, well-targeted government paid parental leave program to supplement what is already provided in the private market.
The problem is that a permanent budget is an out-of-date budget. Paid family leave is thus a victim of all the programs that have come before it.
Paid leave has important benefits, not just for employees, but for businesses and for the economy as a whole.
Mathur’s admission that “encouraging a federal paid family leave plan goes against the idea of limited government” is vastly too modest. The larger implication of this argument is a government takeover of labor markets, fully, precisely because any dimension of working conditions and compensation is “underprovided” by some set of normative values.
This is Aparna Mathur’s response to a comment from reader Eric T. on Monday’s installment of the series, “Paid family (and medical) leave: The time has come to provide it for all employees.”
For many employers, paid parental leave is difficult to offer, and low-income households are not only the least likely to receive an employer benefit, but also the least equipped to overcome a job or income loss.
Now we are rightly debating what kind of policy we ought to adopt – what types of leave should be covered, how long the leave should be, who should be eligible, how generous the policy should be, and how it should be funded.
As policymakers consider their options, models developed right here in the United States show what a paid family leave program can accomplish. Millions of Americans have access to paid leave, and not just from employer-sponsored programs.
Before making any recommendations for a federal policy, it’s important to understand how paid leave has developed at the state and private levels in the absence of a federal benefit.
The President has expressed interest in paid family leave before, with it being one of his few specific policy proposals during the campaign. The fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans, including half of Republicans, support it doesn’t hurt.