Tuesday, February 25, 2014

You Already Pay For Maternity Leave

The list of gimmedats from the 21st century feminist agitator grows. It never is enough. Most feminists in 1965 would be amazed at free birth control, a society that protects abortion rights, no fault divorce, child support for illegitimate kids but there would be just one who would be pissed and want more. That is where we are today. The steady drum beat but in the background is the problematic situation of no paid maternity leave for American women. This is part of the distressing wage gap, which when viewed in foreign nations with maternity leaves proves not to be a fix. The media frames this as a failure in American policy, but the secret is that you already pay for maternity leave.

If you live in California (oldest, richest program), New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island or Hawaii, you pay for paid maternity leave. You have done so for decades. Note that the Huffpo link is careful to say the US has no program but some states have cash benefits. Because cash benefits is somehow different that payments from the government. There are roughly 70 million Americans in those states listed above, which is over 20% of America. These programs treat the birth of a child like an illness and routinely pay for 6 weeks of disability if natural and 8 weeks if a caesarian procedure was performed. The benefits are not the incredibly generous benefits of Europe, but California is 55% of weekly earnings, New Jersey 66 2/3%, and 58% in Hawaii. These plans are administered by bloated state agencies, but some states allow third party insurance providers to perform duties. Usually companies keep state plans with the state agencies because they are more generous with benefit payments and do not charge more for premiums from companies despite horrible cost overruns that may happen.

Some secondary effects that then cost everyone, not just those states' residents, are still with us today. Those laws were written decades ago when private sector unions had power. Those benefits had to be carried even if the employer was based in another state. Because of state mandated benefits in one state, union representatives had a shiny new object to use at the negotiating table. Pennsylvania manufacturers with New York and New Jersey exposure were stuck in a hard place. They provided private insurance to non-state mandated employees and passed the cost on to consumers. This contributed to the higher costs of American labor, giving the consultants more ammunition to outsource work to platform firms in Asia. If the annual cost just for insurance mandated by states equates to $200/year, you are taking about a large chunk of annual wages in third world nations. Vietnam, the cheapest labor out there, costs $0.39 per hour or $811 on a 40 hour workweek 52 weeks a year. That is a no brainer to a consultant with no loyalty to Americans nor any concept of quality.

Paid maternity leave is another gimmedat for women that will have negative effects on the nation as a whole. How many moms work anyway? How many would want to take 26 weeks off paid? I'm serious because we will be told this will help with closing the wage gap (not to help families bond), and we know the type of women who are going to put career advancement over their kids will not stay out for 26 weeks. They might miss a promotion. The entire private sector of employer paid disability insurance is going away as it is too cost prohibitive, with products like AFLAC replacing it. AFLAC is employee paid. The talk may be faint now, but it will grow. If you want to fight it, point out the programs already in place. We have soft forms of maternity leave now. Let us formalize them and break the system faster. After all, they have subsidized abortion, subsidized birth control and tax breaks for day care. We might as well pay them solely to sit at home and magically close the gap.

1 comment:

E. Rekshun said...

I worked with a woman that had four children over a 4-year period. She got 12 weeks off w/ pay after each pregnancy. So, basically, she received four years of pay for three years of work. She still complained when she received an "average" performance rating rather than "above average." The boss told her, "how can I rate you above average, you weren't here."